Friday, January 25, 2013

Grover Norquist is famous...

...for saying that his goal is to "shrink government to the size where we can drown it in a bathtub." This is also known as "starve the beast": cut taxes and create budget deficits until the public demands you limit the size of the government.

And it almost worked.

But what happens when people realize -- as I think more and more are -- that "the beast" is largely Social Security and Medicare? You know, those programs that keep your parents and grandparents from experiencing severe hardship? What then? 

Maybe, just maybe, the "beast" isn't so "beastly" after all. Maybe, like in the video above, it can actually be your friend. And maybe it can even -- gulp! -- help you in your time of need.

I think that's what President Obama meant when he said in his inaugural address (my emphasis):

We, the people, still believe that every citizen deserves a basic measure of security and dignity.  We must make the hard choices to reduce the cost of health care and the size of our deficit.  But we reject the belief that America must choose between caring for the generation that built this country and investing in the generation that will build its future.  For we remember the lessons of our past, when twilight years were spent in poverty, and parents of a child with a disability had nowhere to turn.  We do not believe that in this country, freedom is reserved for the lucky, or happiness for the few.  We recognize that no matter how responsibly we live our lives, any one of us, at any time, may face a job loss, or a sudden illness, or a home swept away in a terrible storm. The commitments we make to each other - through Medicare, and Medicaid, and Social Security - these things do not sap our initiative; they strengthen us.  They do not make us a nation of takers; they free us to take the risks that make this country great.

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