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Yet More Washington Post Crashed-and-Burned Watch (Anti-Social Insurance Puritanism Edition)

Why oh why can't we have a better press corps? Outsourced to Paul Krugman:

Kings of pain: Steve Benen is puzzled by David Broder’s negative view of proposals to give the independent Medicare advisory commission more power to determine what the program pays for:

I’m a little surprised by Broder’s apprehension. After all, the IMAC idea was proposed by the right, and accepted by the left, as part of a larger effort to save money and take political considerations out of the process. In other words, it’s an idea with bipartisan appeal, with an eye towards fiscal responsibility. Isn’t this exactly the kind of policymaking Broder says he wants?

Yes, it’s what he says he wants. But I’ve been watching commentary from Broder and other “centrist” pundits like Robert Samuelson, and I think I see a pattern. They complain a lot about rising public spending, but confronted with any actual proposal to control spending, they reject it — unless it has one crucial attribute: it must weaken the social safety net. Unless you end up slashing benefits, or denying health care to more people, it’s not what they’re looking for.

And so the cost-saving measures under consideration now — which are the first real effort to tackle Medicare costs, ever — are pooh-poohed, because they’re part of a plan that would expand coverage, not contract it.

H.L. Mencken once defined Puritanism thus: "Puritanism is the haunting fear that someone, somewhere, may be happy..."

David Broder, Robert Samuelson, Jonathan Rauch, Clive Crook have a slight variant. For them, their Puritanism is, as Dan Gross says,[1] that haunting fear that someone, somewhere, may be collecting on their social insurance...

[1] Gross includes Niall Ferguson, George F. Will, and Andrew Sullivan among his Puritans...