Where do ideas like this come from? Why are they so prevalent now, when even conservative Republicans in the past would not have thought them? Why are they so different from the ideas of conservatism in other industrialized countries?
These are the ideological remnants of slavery, and they have become prevalent because the GOP has become dominated by its Southern branch.
Under the slave system, there was one consumption budget for the entire community. All consumption came out of the slaveowner's wealth and income. The working population's food, housing, clothing all came from the slaveowner. And so, it was zero-sum. The more the enslaved workers and the enslaved workers' family ate, or wore, or otherwise consumed, the less was available to the slaveowners for capital expenditures and their personal consumption. The areas of concentrated slavery stagnated economically because consumption by the working population was so weak. In addition, the slave economy in the US was geared toward the export market, so there was no local market for locally produced goods.
Contrast this with the 'free labor' capitalist system. There, the workers pay for their own consumption out of the income they get from selling their labor. Even under the most exploitative conditions, working families had some cash to spend, and made their own decisions as to where to spend it. A whole network of local businesses prospered when workers had more money to spend. As Walter Reuther of the UAW would remind Henry Ford, the health of the auto industry depended on auto workers being able to afford to buy the cars they made. The reality of the interdependence of the complex economy was clear to all.
The United States is now making a great historical transition to a more social democratic system, catching up to other industrial democracies in terms of public services and social support for the whole population. It is being made possible by the rise of a multi-racial electoral majority, which is just now emerging and meeting fierce resistance.
Reactionaries in the United States see the social democratic "welfare" state through the lens of slavery, rather than through the lens of the free labor system. They think the consumption of poor people and of working people comes out of consumption of the rich, in a zero sum system. Hence the division of 'takers' and 'makers', and trying to calculate the exact proportion of each. (I guess the current answer is 47%.) Times are tight, so the solution is thought to be to cut the rations. Hence, austerity, and punitive cuts to food stamps and unemployment insurance.
Looking at the economy through the lens of the "free labor" system, even the most tightwad of factory owners can see that more money in the hands of the poor will increase demand and stimulate the economy.
The presumption of slavery lurks in our elite's thoughts that "we" pay for the consumption of everyone, especially those that don't work. The machinery of taxation all benefits "spending our money". So we are entitled to look through their grocery carts the minute the EBT card comes out. Or to demand a drug test. Those that receive a benefit have lost their independence, their autonomy, their agency. In short, they are slaves, living on the largesse of the plantation owner.
These was not the economic theories of the traditional Republican manufacturing elite of the past. It is neo-confederate thinking.
If social prosperity could be achieved by lowering the living standards of the poor, the streets of Mississippi would be paved with gold.