Krugman - Krug-MAN
But their ideological battle is not founded in dollars and cents - or sense. When Jefferson laid out his "right wing" view of government 200 years ago, the majority of people lived off the land and could at least feed themselves. The Depression proved once and for all that we had moved out of an era where people were able to fend entirely for themselves. Once you move to New York City, you can no longer rely on your three head of cattle and wheat range to feed you and your family. FDR saw this and put in place a system to protect the society from the inevitable changes brought by our industrial might.
The dollars and cents plays in because social disparity has a cost. It has a cost in terms of strife and it has a cost in terms of GDP because: rich people save their money, the middle class spends theirs (simply put) and the poor tend to take money from society through need or through other less appealing ways like criminal justice costs. More poor and more rich gives you something like what I see here every day in Mexico. Very rich people that asve their money in the US and spend their money on imported cars from Europe and very poor people that sap the society's resources either through corruption or crime or whatever. The Great Depression proved that eventually everyone is subject to the direction of society. No one is immune and the wealthy folks on 5th avenue after ignoring the hordes on Bowery for years, finally had to take notice. They saw a true Crisis. A true unravelling of society and where did everyone turn - they turned to a society set out to protect all its members for the betterment of all its members.
We need buffers in a modern society. It is not welfare in the Right's view of the word. It is the "haves" paying a little more to protect themselves from the inevitable costs when you do not.
Read it here