Douthat’s column today is terrific. As Douthat points out, the liberal preference for universal programs over means-testing is based on the premise that middle-class voters won’t support programs for the poor unless they get a cut too. The premise is therefore that these voters are both selfish and stupid, since they are unable to see that the programs do in fact transfer money to the poor. Maintaining the necessary public ignorance requires continual deception: The redistributive aspects of these universal programs must remain hidden. It’s not very democratic.