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Why Americans Seem To Care How Fellow Citizens Get Government Money

There is a robust debate in the United States about the role government should play in people’s lives, and one of the policy areas where that debate plays out most loudly is around public benefits like welfare, food stamps and child-care subsidies.

That kind of spending typically happens directly — the government gives a recipient money. But the government also spends money through the tax code and gets money to residents for things like buying a house and saving for retirement.

So, do Americans care how their fellow citizens get government money?

It turns out, we do.

Chris Ellis is an associate professor of political science at Bucknell University in Pennsylvania and directs the Survey Research Lab there. He joined The Show to talk about why people are less likely to support the government just giving someone money rather than giving people cash through a tax credit or incentive.

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Mark Brodie is a co-host of The Show, KJZZ’s locally produced news magazine. Since starting at KJZZ in 2002, Brodie has been a host, reporter and producer, including several years covering the Arizona Legislature, based at the Capitol.