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Justin Fox Tries to Teach Dick Armey About Social Insurance Programs

Social Democracy: Joe Klein Shows His Stuff

Joe Klein shows why my friend Susan Rasky likes and respects him so much, as he defends modern America against the threat from ex-majority leader Richard Armey:

Armey Decoded - Swampland - TIME: [T]he federal government isn't some alien import from France, it is the common expression of our desires and purposes as a society. Now I know, Margaret Thatcher said "There's no such thing as society, only individuals and families." But I don't agree with that for one minute. True freedom can only exist within the context of a working society; without it, we have a state of nature--like, say, New Orleans in the days after Katrina.

This is not to say that the federal government isn't barnacled with stupidities after 200+ years of existence. The hardest thing to do in a mature democracy is to scrape the barnacles off the hull. But it seems to me that most of the barnacles in the current system benefit--how to be delicate here?--rich people, not the poor. The $70 billion in corporate welfare, for example. The fact that Republicans keep increasing the tax on work--payroll taxes--and keep reducing the taxes on wealth. No, the barnacles that Republicans complain endlessly about are a rudimentary system of regulations to protect food, drugs, the environment and the safety of the workplace, and a rudimentary system to protect the elderly from sickness and starvation. And when reasonable politicians, Democrats and moderate Republicans, propose even the slightest alteration toward equity, it's "class warfare." (Yes, another great focus group term.)

Tell me how treating capital gains the same as other income is "class warfare" while eliminating OSHA inspections isn't?

Ate his wheaties this morning, he did...

This reassures me. I was becoming increasingly alarmed at Time's Swampland's giving Dick Armey a platform where he wrote things like:

Swampland - TIME: I believe private ownership of retirement savings is superior to a bunch of politicians in Washington “saving” for America. Their record on saving scares me, quite frankly, and soon we’ll pay the piper...

without any pushback. The natural response to Armey was: "What's this "they": you were the fifth most powerful man in Washington in 2001-2002, and you personally enthusiastically led the charge to shred Clinton-era fiscal discipline and responsibility. Did you think we didn't notice? Did you think we were that stupid that you could get away with such an evasion of responsibility?"

But nobody did it. Not Carney. Not Cox. Not Tumulty. Some aggressive pushback on issue substance from Justin Fox at Until now.