There are two main reasons for this resistance -- one strategic, the other ideological. Neither is persuasive, even from a progressive point of view, at a time when trillion-dollar deficits are the norm and publicly held federal debt is projected to reach 150 percent of gross domestic product...
If Progressives have "a communitarian vision that sees universal participation in tax-funded social services as inherently good", then shouldn't universal participation in the tax system also be part of their vision? If these programs are not "entitlements", then they should be benefits that are only available to those who paid in the "premiums" that fund the program. The key point is the charade that we all "pay in" to these programs and receive an "equal" benefit. I'm sure the elderly person whose only income is Social Security doesn't see it as "fair" when someone else receives a 6-figure pension AND a relatively pitiful Social Security check. I'm all for forcing Government and our representatives in it to be TRUTHFUL.
Since Republicans are pushing entitlement reform and Democrats like taking money from rich people, you might think they could agree on means-testing Medicare and Social Security as part of a deficit reduction deal. Yet many Democrats are surprisingly hostile to the idea of tailoring these programs to help people who actually need them.
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