A few weeks ago, Chuck Todd, the NBC White House correspondent, tweeted that the most important similarity between Maxine Waters and Charlie Rangel is not race, but “entrenched entitlement.” They’re not the only two who share that mindset--the entire Democratic ruling class does. And that attitude of entitlement is not only causing ethics problems for specific members, it is having catastrophic effects as a governing policy.
The entrenched entitlement mentality has had very real effects: massive deficits; an out-of-control federal budget; a looming crisis for both Social Security and Medicare; special treatment for public employee unions; no reforms at all of Freddie Mac or Fannie Mae; and most of all, a “fundamental transformation” in our economy brought about by Obamacare, the stimulus, the bailouts, and financial reform. It’s also resulted in an angry electorate, historically low approval ratings for the president and for Congress, a growing independent movement, and a widespread majority of people who are fed up with government spending. As pollster Peter Hart put it in the coverage of the latest Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll, "Everyone's hurling invective and they're all taking the emergency exit." He calls it the JetBlue election. He’s right.
Recently, I wrote a blog about Wisconsin GOP Rep. Paul Ryan’s plan for fiscal sanity, the “Roadmap for America,” and said I thought it was making Democrats “nervous.” I now think that blog was Understatement of the Year. They’re not just nervous, they’re in hysterics. That’s because Ryan’s proposals threaten the entrenched entitlement mentality. The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee’s blog, called “Common Ground” (I assume they’re being ironic?) says Ryan’s plan is “much maligned” and “radical.” The only people maligning it are the far left. And they consider it radical because it threatens to reasonably slow spending on their entrenched entitlements. Columnist Paul Krugman, the leading advocate for continued stimulus spending and higher taxes, is the most threatened of all. He called Ryan a “charlatan” and a “flim-flam” man in an opinion piece that the Wall Street Journal called a “primal scream.”
I can’t help but think that big spending, big taxing liberals have brought this all on themselves. They’ve backed themselves into a corner: on one hand, they desperately want a robust economy, but on the other hand, they desperately want higher taxes, more spending, more government and more regulation, too. You can’t have both. This was their big chance to govern and now look what’s happened. Because of Democratic policies--and the lack of interest in reining in those entrenched entitlements--businesses are uncertain of what lies ahead. So hiring is stalled, investments are postponed, the pessimism grows, and the sour mood among voters spreads.
You can argue that this economic crisis began under the Bush administration, but this non-recovery belongs completely to the Obama administration. That’s why there’s such a primal scream on the left.