Fred Clark sums up America’s real problem with government programs in this Twitter thread.
If you don’t want get into the morass that is Twitter, here’s what he says:
Progressive agenda — labor, education, health care for all — is very popular in U.S. but only up until the moment POC also have access. Public schools & universities? America loved ’em … until Brown v. Board, after which public was happy to let them collapse. Labor unions? Americans wanted them good and strong … until they had to be integrated, at which point U.S. let them wither away. Go through the whole list of New Deal and Great Society efforts to improve our standard of living — the pattern repeats. This was what started the Tea Party, which furiously opposed assisting struggling homeowners & thus re-channeled the rescue to banks. White Americans want Nice Things, but not if “those people” get them too. In that case, they’d rather let their own house burn down. Want single-payer Medicare for all? Me too. Getting there means figuring out how to change this pattern.
It reminds me very much of a quote attributed to the commenter Deus X. Machina in a thread from Balloon Juice:
The salient fact of American politics is that there are fifty to seventy million voters each of whom will volunteer to live, with his family, in a cardboard box under an overpass, and cook sparrows on an old curtain rod, if someone would only guarantee that the black, gay, Hispanic, liberal, whatever, in the next box over doesn’t even have a curtain rod, or a sparrow to put on it.
White America would rather not have good things at all than have to share them with those they deem undeserving.