Do you know why Republicans hate Social Security and Medicare?
Because they work.
Do you know why Ross Douthat springs into action with a tentpole between his legs whenever someone comes up with a new way to validate the fact that he believes that the only serious ideas in America come from Republicans who want to destroy things that work?
Nah, me neither:
I don’t see a lot of appetite for that kind of bullet-biting on the center-left right now, whereas on the Republican side there’s a much greater willingness, post-2010, to bite the alternative bullet of entitlement reform. And that matters: The emerging policy vision on the right only coheres and makes (at least some) fiscal sense because it includes proposals to change Medicare and (from leading politicians like Ryan and Marco Rubio, if not from the party as a whole) Social Security as well. A center-left analogue would need to come to grips more fully with the long-term cost of the liberal vision, and the need, eventually at least, for new taxes on someone other than the rich.
New taxes on "someone other than the rich" is doublespeak for "kill the poors." Occupy Wall Street scared the living hell out of the people who thought that they were going to be able to waltz into the decade with government-slashing politicians in their hip pocket. You know, the ones exactly like Paul Ryan, who was a middle class kid from Wisconsin who cashed in on Social Security death benefits and got an education in the very ideology that would condemn anyone who took a handout from the government.
Inadvertently, the American taxpayer funded the life plan of a man who hates what America does for kids just like him. When you get through that door, slam it hard behind you so no one else can have a good life just like yourself. Pathetic.
Here's an idea--accept government for what it is and what it does and attack the one thing we know that does NOT work, and that's giving the rich tax cuts in exchange for creating jobs.
People in this country actually are free, and they're free from worse levels of poverty and fear than the Republican Party is comfortable with. Social Security isn't broke, Medicare works, Obamacare works, and that drives people who have NO ideas crazy.
More and more, it looks like we missed the ball on Occupy as a movement for real reform and change, and, just like in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, we lost a chance to talk about poverty and race in this country. We lost one hell of a good chance and I don't think we'll get it back until we defeat the ideas that give Douthat his woody.