Those who believe that government is necessary to create safety nets fail to see how our government is making safety nets less likely in the long run. There are people who now accept the impossibility of the healthcare law being repealed, and they believe that energy reform in the shape of cap and trade is inevitable, and that regulation of the finance industry is both needed and unavoidable.
You can meditate on the power of the U.S. government and become dizzily impressed at what great good it can do for society. Just imagine that pollution is reduced and global warming is finally addressed, that energy prices rise so that less energy is used -- imagine that banks are prevented from taking risks and are taxed to avoid future bailouts, that banks are made to be transparent and consumers are fully protected -- imagine that tens of millions more people can access healthcare and that companies will either provide acceptable coverage or people can access government managed groups of providers -- imagine that only the rich will be forced to pay for the safety and security of ordinary citizens.
The government makes promises that people eagerly accept and appreciate because the majority will receive something paid for by big companies and wealthy individuals who can afford it -- the majority see this as justice, and when government debt becomes unsustainable, more money can be taken from the wealthy.
Even though the majority still believe the promises at some level, more and more people are beginning to accept that this arrangement can't go on much longer. The 15 million who are unemployed know that at some point the checks will end. Everyone intelligent enough to understand the basics of economics knows that the wealthy don't have enough money to cover the government's promises. More and more people are realizing that something must change, as bad as they'd like to believe that the promises are true.
The news about Greece and Europe is getting around, and as it gets worse people will see that we're next in line. So, what can be done? Some on the far left might not care if we collapse, but they have no valid replacement, and I have to believe that most of them know it. Sometimes it seems as if everyone is just waiting for someone in authority to tell them the game is over.
However, there's a large group of people who know that we can't wait -- that we have to act. The only questions are how many people understand this, and how urgently will they act? A lot will be revealed in the next 2 to 3 years. We're at a turning point where we'll either send people to government who'll turn things around, or we'll stumble blindly into a crisis like we've never experienced, and lose a great deal of our freedom.