NR Marketing

Time to Help

We’d like to think we make a less beggarly appeal than Mr. Bogart in the above video, and that the attitude of Bugs would be less . . . unfriendly. We are now in the midst of NR’s Fall 2018 Webathon and closing in on our new goal of $225,000, with donations coming from over 1,700 folks who understand, unlike Mr. B. Bunny, that what the relationship is between NR and you is one of supporter and advocate/champion/brawler — the latter when necessary, as was the case with the recent Kavanaugh slugfest.

About that. Rich Lowry has written an exceptional, detailed plea that — heck, if you are a first-class tightwad, if you conveniently wander out of the saloon when it’s your turn to buy the next round — that you may not want to read. Why? Because if you do, you will realize there is no wiggle room for the faint of generosity. You’ll be reaching for the wallet (even you, Jack Benny Jr.). You’ll find that Rich makes this fact unavoidable: The necessity of supporting NR as a consequential champion of conservatism is a very real thing, to you personally, and it requires money put where is located the old piehole. It’s time for you to do that.

Don’t worry, you’ll be in excellent company. Lots of folks have backed up their principles with action and support. For this we are quite grateful, with “quite” not quite enough of an emphasizer:

  • Anonymous is at it again, this time sporting 25 bucks and a simple and catchy and accurate raison d’être: “Thanks for the Kava-Koverage.” Someone trademark that!
  • Shannon finds a fifty in the mattress and sends it our way, with a verbal caboose: “Still the best collection of writers — thanks for your professionalism.”
  • Then there is Marty, who contributes a generous $200 and tenders an idea along with his praise: “Love all your writers and podcasts and follow NRO every day. One tip: Get Luke Thompson his own weekly podcast! He is fantastic on The Editors and it would fill a somewhat empty niche to have a podcast similar to what Nate Silver does on the 538 podcasts but from a conservative viewpoint. You could give him a different NR co-host each week so they could bounce their perspectives off of each other. Thanks again!” The Podcast Gods have been alerted. Thanks Marty, and say hello to Angie.
  • Okay, we’ll close with this. From Anonymous, again, and we’re not sure of the amount. But what a sweet message: “I have been a more or less faithful reader of NR since the 1970s. As a matter of fact, I even had a piece published in a 1975 issue. As I type this, I can look to my right and see the baby blue post card that I received a couple of weeks after my article appeared in print. It has NR’s then-East 35th Street address along the top along with this hand-written note: ‘Mr. (My Last Name), Nice Going. WFB’ Professionally speaking, it’s one of my proudest possessions. NR has given me a lot. I suppose I should give something back. My only wish is that it could be more.” Reminding us of how good a guy Bill was — that is a great tonic Anon. You’ve done more, indeed.

You need us to be in the thick of the political fight, and to do that, we need you to chip in every once in a webathon. Please see fit to help us reach or goal of $225,000 (honestly, we need three times that amount). Whether you can do $10 or $10,000 (someone did that!), every contribution is all deeply appreciated. So how about pitching in right now: You can show NR your support here. Thanks!

All the Lonely People?

The past few years have seen a resurgence in attention to the problem of loneliness in America, and in other developed nations. Even in just the past few weeks, we’ve seen some prominent journalistic attention to the issue—from an Economist piece about loneliness in London to some reviews of an important new book by Senator Ben Sasse that takes up this problem among others. Loneliness has seemed to a lot of us like one of the ways to understand the pressures and problems that confront our society and politics at this point.

This kind of attention is valuable and important, and there is no question that as the institutions that hold communities together have frayed we have had to come to terms with just how much we human beings depend upon robust social connections for our health and flourishing.

But is loneliness in fact getting worse in America? It’s important to try to treat that as an empirical question to the extent possible, and to think through what it is we are trying to find out when we ask it.

The staff of the Joint Economic Committee in Congress, which has done some extraordinarily important work on social capital over the last few years, recently published a very useful little paper on this question, trying to wrestle with the available evidence. Their ultimate conclusion—which is the conclusion that good social scientists generally reach when confronted with a big question—is that more evidence is necessary to really get at an answer. But their dissection of the evidence that does exist and the claims often made around it should give us some pause. They note at the end, with some restraint, in summarizing their analysis:

The discussion of loneliness has suggested to media consumers and policymakers that it is an epidemic—that loneliness has increased substantially in recent years and is a pressing problem in need of urgent attention. These claims, however, are based on a flawed interpretation of the research literature. In fact, there is little evidence that loneliness has increased.

This analysis, the evidence they take up, and the citations they offer to help you dig deeper, are really worth your while. I was left thinking that we talk about loneliness as we do because we lack the vocabulary to describe the kinds of problems that arise when institutions grow weak and communities unravel. Those problems are very real and they are near the heart of what is happening in America now, but maybe they are not the same thing as loneliness—and maybe seeing that can help us better understand them.

Economy & Business

Yes, Entitlements Are a Far Bigger Debt-Driver Than the Recent Tax Cuts Are

From over at Vox:

Republicans have removed all doubt: When it comes to the federal deficit, the problem is Medicare and Social Security — not their own tax cuts for corporations and the wealthy.

Good heavens, what could have led them to say such an outrageous thing?

Actually, it’s just the truth. We didn’t need Republicans to remove all doubt about it.

To be clear, last year’s tax bill will increase the deficit, and I was lukewarm on it for exactly that reason. But the heart of the problem really is the entitlement system. Brian Riedl of the Manhattan Institute spelled out the comparison, using hard numbers, in an NRO piece earlier this year.

A few stats borrowed from that piece:

  • Assuming they’re extended, and factoring in interest costs and economic growth, the tax cuts will cost perhaps $2.7 trillion over a decade.
  • Spending increases under Trump could widen the deficit by nearly $2 trillion over a decade.
  • And yet the national debt is going to rise $16 trillion over those ten years. “The remaining $11.5 trillion is dominated by Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid.”
  • Annual Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid spending is going to grow from $2 trillion to $3.7 trillion in that time frame.
  • Social Security and Medicare face a cash deficit of $82 trillion over the next three decades.

Is it smart to reduce revenue when you’re facing shortfalls like these? Perhaps not. But the revenue reduction itself is not the big issue here.

On a side note, Riedl has a new plan for controlling the debt that includes entitlement reform and tax hikes, and I wrote about it over on the home page yesterday.

Health Care

McSally Is Right About Pre-Existing Conditions

At the Huffington Post, Jonathan Cohn accuses Arizona Republican Senate candidate Martha McSally of “deceiving the public” and “rewriting history” about health care in a recent debate.

At issue is her vote for the House version of the Obamacare-repeal bill. McSally said, “I voted to protect people with pre-existing conditions. We cannot go back to where we were before Obamacare, where people were one diagnosis away from going bankrupt, because they could not get access to health care.”

The bill for which McSally voted included protections for people with pre-existing conditions. Those protections would be stronger than the ones in place before Obamacare. They would, however, be weaker than the ones in Obamacare; how much weaker is a matter on which reasonable people can disagree. McSally is glossing over that point, as one would expect, but that strikes me as a matter of political spin rather than deceit.

The bill would have allowed states to apply for a partial waiver from Obamacare’s rule that insurers cannot discriminate based on health status. That waiver would apply only to people who had not maintained continuous insurance coverage—and maintaining continuous coverage would be easier than it was in the pre-Obamacare world. (It would be easier because the bill largely continued Obamacare’s tax credits and prohibited insurers from discriminating against people with chronic health conditions who, for one reason or another, were switching their coverage. It would also be easier because even under the Republican bill, Medicaid would still cover a larger share of the population than it had before Obamacare, although how much larger is open to dispute.)

The Republican bill also included funding to help those who fell through the cracks of this new regulatory regime—that is, for people with pre-existing conditions, in waiver states, who had not maintained continuous coverage. The adequacy of all these protections can be debated. But what McSally said is correct.


New York Times Op-Ed Reveals Ideological Bias among University Administrators

My one-time Stanford colleague Samuel J. Abrams, now a professor at Sarah Lawrence College, published a very good op-ed in the New York Times earlier this week. He noted that, while there has been plenty of coverage of the ideological imbalance of university faculty members, almost no attention has been paid to the political views of university administrators.

Abrams conducted a nationally representative survey of 900 college administrators, asking them about their political leanings, and found that on university campuses, liberal staff members outnumber conservative staff members by a 12-to-1 ratio.

He also found a strong ideological imbalance among university administrators across a range of geographic regions and types of universities, as well as some evidence that the imbalance is somewhat worse at private schools and more-selective schools. Interestingly, Abrams’s previous research has found that self-identified liberal faculty members outnumber conservatives by roughly a 6-to-1 margin.  This means that there is actually less ideological diversity among university administrators than there is among faculty. As Abrams concludes, “A fairly liberal student body is being taught by a very liberal professoriate — and socialized by an incredibly liberal group of administrators.”

Abrams’s work raises a very important issue. An ideologically imbalanced university administration may actually be a worse problem than an ideologically imbalanced faculty, because conservative students can more easily avoid hostile professors than they can avoid hostile administrators.

A right-leaning student can usually avoid taking classes with faculty he believes to be biased in the other direction, but if that same student wants to start a chapter of College Republicans or launch a conservative campus newspaper, he has no choice but to deal with his college’s student-activities office. There, a hostile administrator may make it difficult for a conservative student group to obtain campus recognition, receive funding, or plan events. Similarly, students are often assigned to dorms, and it may be logistically difficult to avoid residential programming that they feel is biased or unfair.

Conservatives and libertarians have invested a great deal of effort to improve the ideological diversity of university faculty. Groups such as the Intercollegiate Studies Institute (ISI) and the Institute for Humane Studies (IHS) provide mentoring, training, and resources to aspiring college professors. In a relatively short period of time, Heterodox Academy has done a fine job organizing a diverse group of faculty who seek greater viewpoint diversity on college campuses. The ideological imbalance of university administrators, meanwhile, remains an overlooked problem — one certainly worthy of more attention from conservative writers and academics.


Wednesday Links

Interesting bit of history: the readers who entertained cigar-factory workers in the early 20th century.

Teach Yourself to Echolocate — a beginner’s guide to navigating with sound.

A 16th-Century Guide to Pooping at King Henry VIII’s Hampton Court Palace.

Happy Birthday, Rita Hayworth: Here’s an excellent compilation of her dancing, set to Stayin’ Alive.

Patching Crumbling Walls with LEGOs.

Jet Engines on Trucks.

ICYMI, Friday’s links are here, and include the anniversary of the 1066 Battle of Hastings, how police will solve murders on Mars, an instructional video from 1960 on how to build your own fallout shelter, and a timeline of Bigfoot searches.


Florida Poll Shows Razor-Thin Senate and Gubernatorial Races

Republican governor Rick Scott is ahead of Democratic senator Bill Nelson by a slim margin in the Florida Senate race, according to a new survey from St. Pete Polls. It’s the first poll of the contest since the devastating Hurricane Michael ravaged the state, and Scott leads Nelson 48.6 to 47.2 percent.

Sixty-one percent of respondents said they approve of the way Scott has handled hurricane response, while 21 percent say they disapprove and 18 percent say they’re unsure. Of those who say they approve of the governor’s response, 62 percent have already voted early in the Senate race.

Meanwhile, the state’s gubernatorial contest also appears to be close: Tallahassee mayor Andrew Gillum is ahead of Republican congressman Ron DeSantis by just over one percentage point, 47 to 45.9 percent. Only 44.4 percent of those surveyed said they approve of how the Democratic mayor has handled the response to Hurricane Michael, while a little over 30 percent say they disapprove.

Just under a quarter of survey respondents said they have already voted in the election.


Stabs in the Heart

Manal al-Sharif at Oslo’s City Hall (Oslo Freedom Forum)

The Arab liberal or reformer has an unhappy lot. He faces constant disappointment. He finds it hard to keep his hopes up.

Manal al-Sharif issued a heart-stabbing Twitter “thread” on Sunday. She is a Saudi democracy activist, probably the most prominent, along with Raif Badawi, who has been in prison since 2012. Manal al-Sharif is in exile. I have met and heard her several times through the Oslo Freedom Forum. Last year, she published a book, Daring to Drive: A Saudi Woman’s Awakening.

On Sunday, she began her thread, “For the first time in my life I am hopeless about a better Saudi Arabia.” She continued, “We had hopes finally with the self-proclaimed reformist.”

In lines aimed at the dictatorship, she said, “Is it worth it to terrorize, intimidate, silence, harass, imprison, abduct, and even kill those men and women who peacefully asked for reforms? Is it worth it to create so much pain in this world, so much hate, so much terror? To break families and hearts? Is it worth it? Just to rule for a fraction of time in this timeless universe? Is it worth it?”

She concluded, “I’m thankful that I left the region just in time. If you too can leave with what is left of your sanity and dignity, please do. Don’t fight the system, don’t have hopes, don’t speak up, don’t dream, don’t breathe, just leave. Leave, live, and build a home away from home. Peace to everyone.”

Well. Perhaps her mood will pass. Perhaps not. But I can understand the mood entirely, and would share it, were I an Arab — particularly a Saudi — I’m sure.

I once heard Garry Kasparov say something moving, and true, about the Arab Spring — that series of uprisings in 2011, principally. Many people like to snort when speaking about the Arab Spring. “Some spring, ha ha, what a bust!” But how did the Arab Spring get its name? From the Prague Spring.

And what a joke that was! A pathetic little protest, crushed — literally run over — by the great Soviet empire. But 20 years later . . .

History is long, very long. (Manal al-Sharif spoke of “this timeless universe.”) But human lives are short. And we want freedom and justice while we can enjoy them, rightly so.

I believe there will be monuments to Manal and Raif in Saudi Arabia, whether literal or figurative. When, I don’t know.

P.S. When I hear about “rogue elements” in connection with the Saudi dictatorship, I think of that old cry, from Jews in the Russian empire: “If only the Czar knew.”

P.P.S. Yesterday, I flashed back to 1989, when Scowcroft and Eagleburger — fine men, both — flew to Beijing to toast — literally toast — the Butchers of Tiananmen Square. Those raised glasses sickened me. I felt the same sickness in seeing Secretary of State Pompeo all smiles with “MBS.” The United States can stand for something in the world, while still pursuing our interests.

Economy & Business

Two Cheers for Ben Carson

Over on the homepage, the Cato Institute’s Michael Tanner praises the latest initiative from Housing and Urban Development secretary Ben Carson. As Tanner describes it, Carson “has let it be known that he intends to link federal housing funds to local officials’ willingness to reduce regulations that restrict affordable housing. He wants to ensure that if mayors and governors continue to pander to wealthy special interests by enacting barriers to housing construction, Washington will no longer bail them out.” Put differently, Carson has joined the bipartisan “YIMBY” movement — meaning “yes in my backyard,” as opposed to “not in my backyard.”

That movement is correct on the policy merits. As I wrote in a lengthy piece about segregation earlier this year, overly aggressive zoning and land-use regulations do immense damage to the economy and also make it more difficult to integrate neighborhoods, both economically and racially. Tanner points out that these regulations have been explicitly racist in the past, though now they mainly take the form of race-neutral restrictions that make it hard to build cheaper forms of housing (and sometimes make it hard to build any housing, driving up prices across the board).

Carson’s regulation is also far superior to the Obama-era plan he’s trying to replace, a heavy-handed effort to force metro areas to directly engineer their neighborhoods’ racial balance. Stanley Kurtz called it a “de facto regional annexation of America’s suburbs.”

There are even some conservative arguments for the federal government in particular to push better policies. For one thing, as a political matter, federal subsidies for affordable housing aren’t going anywhere — and it makes little sense to subsidize affordable housing in cities that are deliberately making housing unaffordable. Just as we ask welfare recipients to take steps to make themselves self-sufficient, perhaps we might ask federal grant recipients to stop obstructing the purposes of the grants they receive.

But I think any conservative has to hesitate when a policy takes the form of using federal dollars to change state and local policy. Essentially, the national government is taking taxpayers’ money and refusing to give it back unless those taxpayers support the right policies at another level of government, overriding the key distinctions of American federalism. It’s one thing if those policies are unconstitutional; it’s another when they’re just bad or have a disparate impact on the poor.

Carson’s plan could do a lot of good and, again, is a drastic improvement on the plan he’s trying to replace. But I wanted to at least tip my hat to the idea that perhaps the federal government shouldn’t leverage its taxing and spending powers to overrule the lower levels of government.


‘White Women’ as Slur, Continued

After a column in which I explored the growing tendency of writers from the left to use the term “white women” as a term of opprobrium and wondered whether it was wise to treat white women in general as deplorables, a few writers have replied. The general tenor is sarcasm — look at what this genius wrote — followed by concession: White women really are bad.

At The Root, under the misleading headline “A Requiem for ‘White Women,’ Which the [sic] National Review Says Is a Disparaging Term,” — no, I don’t think it’s a disparaging term, I think others are using it as such — writer Michael Harriot dubs white women “the second-place finishers in the white supremacy Olympics.” He adds, “There has never been a moment in the history of this country where white women have collectively stepped out of the cozy shade provided by white supremacy to stand up for anything other than their own whiteness. Not during slavery. Not during Jim Crow. Not yesterday. Not a single time.”

In my essay, I pointed out that it was probably unwise to lump white women into a pro–President Trump bloc given that only a bare majority of them — 52 percent — voted for Trump. Many of these voters might be persuaded to vote Democrat if they felt welcome in the Democratic party. The response? Of course we should lump them into bloc. Harriot: “It was not an inconsequential percentage of white women who hid behind the opaque safety of voting booth curtains to hand our country over to a man who openly and loudly displays every variation of racism. It was 52 percent. It was most white women.” Most white women, says Harriot, stand guilty of having “stiff-armed” black victims of sexual misconduct and of being the major beneficiaries of affirmative action while hating it. He builds up to this assertion: “‘White women’ is not a slur. ‘White women’ is an apt description of those who benefit from the historical privilege white womanhood affords while still using the perceived purity of their femininity as a new millennium deflector shield.” Oh.

At The Grio, writer Blue Telusma takes a similar tack. Telusma imagines I said something about the “purity” of white women (I didn’t) and calls this purity “the prized jewel of white supremacist ideology.” After I noted that it would be unfair to chastise white women as a group because some of them have called the police on black people, Telusma says this isn’t unfair at all because “white women seem to call 911 operators, on Black kids especially, as regularly as their BFFs.” Telusma suggests it is important to “hold [white women] accountable to their access to white privilege.”

I think my point is made.


The Downside of the New Normal

Axios has a story today on how the out-of-wedlock birthrate has stabilized and is the “new normal.” The article works very hard to make it sound like this is a great thing, with only one downside: Those grumpy conservatives don’t like it:

Why it matters: If having babies without being married becomes increasingly common, it could help stabilize falling fertility rates and avoid an aging, childless future, Michael Hermann, a senior adviser for economics and demography at UNFPA, told Axios. But it’s also likely to lead to more cultural friction, as social conservatives are unlikely to accept more births outside marriage. [emphasis mine]

Later on, there’s some acknowledgment that the conservative objection is more than merely aesthetic:

The other side: The trend causes concern for social conservatives. “There’s an abundance of evidence in the U.S. to indicate that children are better off with a married mother and father,” Peter Sprigg, a senior fellow for policy studies at the Family Research Council, told Axios. He added that the increase in births outside of marriage “portends less stability for children.”

Still, this is the social-science equivalent of “Republicans pounce.” Sprigg is right. There is an enormous amount of research — and not just by social conservatives — about the downside of out-of-wedlock births. This framing makes it sound like conservatives are the only ones who really care, and if you don’t read all the way down, you’re left with the impression that the only downside is that conservatives will make a fuss about an otherwise beneficial social trend.


If You’re Really Good, It Isn’t Stealing

In response to Strains

I enjoyed reading Jay on Andrew Lloyd Webber and Puccini. Webber has his detractors, of course — one of them described his style of musical composition as “logo-first,” a hall-of-fame put-down — but there’s no arguing with his ear for melody. If he stole from Puccini, it was an act of good taste. As T. S. Eliot explained: “Immature artists imitate — mature artists steal.”

One of my favorite bits of looting from the classical catalogue comes from the Toys, a largely forgotten 1960s girl group, who released “A Lover’s Concerto” in 1965. It’s a pretty straightforward pop song, typical of the era, except that the music is lifted almost entirely from a Bach minuet, the one that everybody learns when first learning to play guitar. Fans of heavy metal appreciate that the genre would be much diminished if there were no thievery from the classics.

(There was a time when classical music was known as “longhair music.” Some things do change.)

Puccini wasn’t above borrowing — but when you’re Puccini, they call it “quotation,” as in his incorporation of the “Star-Spangled Banner” when introducing an American character in Madama Butterfly.

Here’s Charlie Parker reworking a little bit of Stravinsky. You can’t argue with it.


Who Doesn’t Want to Visit Greece with VDH as Your Guide?

Our esteemed colleague is not only a brilliant historian, professor, columnist, author, classicist, and farmer: Victor Davis Hanson also has a little bit of travel agent in his DNA (more than Elizabeth Warren has Cherokee). For the last dozen years he has been leading late-Spring military tours and cruises in Europe, and next May (the actual dates are May 29 to June 8) he will be leading (along with fellow historians Tom Conner and Bruce Thornton) a Journey to the Other Greece expedition that will take a small and exclusive group of serious history buffs on an exciting itinerary he’s calling from “Classical Sparta to Alexander the Great.” How about I let Victor explain in his own words:

For our twelfth annual military history tour of Europe, we plan in 2019 to return to Greece, the site of our first tour. Yet this time, we will visit an “Other Greece,” one not usually visited by tourists.

The vale of Sparta and the environs of Mt. Taygetus were the crossroads of war and conquest from classical times to the end of Byzantine Greece, with the catastrophic fall of Mistras and the Morea in the late 15th-century, now one of the best preserved Byzantine Greek sites in the world.

On the way through the Peloponnese, we will visit the valley of Mantinea, and the sites of the great battles fought there, especially the terrible ordeal of 362 B.C. where Epaminondas the Theban liberator fell. We will also visit many of the places in a novel The End of Sparta that I wrote about the liberation of the Messenian helots from their Spartan overlords.

The other less traveled Greece is also to the north. Our drive there will take us through the historic ‘dancing floor of war’ where ancient Greek armies met from the flatlands of Thebes to the vast expanses of Thessaly.

Upon arrival in ancient Macedon, we will make our base of operations in the historic city of Thessaloniki, the nexus of conflict from Macedonian times until World War II and the subsequent Greek Civil War. From Thessaloniki, the most scenic and important sites of the classical era of Athenian imperial power and of the Hellenistic world of Philip and Alexander the Great are just short drives away, such as Amphipolis, Meteora, Pella, Philippi, and Vergina.

In addition to visiting the usual landmark sites of Greece—Athens, Corinth, Nauplion, and Epidaurus—our 2019 visit will include a Greece rarely seen by tourists, but one replete with literary, historical, and military sites that figure prominently in the Western tradition, from the gallant last stand of the 300 at Thermopylae to the great Theban battle sites where Socrates fought at the battle of Delium.

The itinerary and scheduled events and talks look amazing. And it’s well known that VDH’s sojourns are first-rate, professional and top-notch service in every way, from meals to accommodations and everything else you can imagine.

Speaking of imagining, I imagine, post-trip, Spouse 1 will say to Spouse 2: “That is one of the best things we ever did.” And Spouse 2 will reply to Spouse 1: “For once, I’m glad I listened to you. Yeah, it was beyond anything I imagined it would be.”

There is still space available for the May, 2019 “Journey to the Other Greece” – but likely won’t be in a matter of weeks. Consider going – you will not regret it. Not one iota . . . in Ionia. Or anywhere else.

Complete information about the trip can be found at Victor’s site, VDH Historical Tours.


McConnell: Republicans Can’t Fix Entitlements

Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell told Bloomberg News that rising spending on Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid are driving increases in the national debt — and that solving the problem “may well be difficult if not impossible to achieve when you have unified government.”

Nancy Pelosi responded, “Like clockwork, Republicans in Congress are setting in motion their plan to destroy the Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security that seniors and families rely on.”

Of course, McConnell did not suggest that Republicans had any “plan” to make significant changes to those programs; he suggested that he thought any such effort was doomed for failure without Democratic support.

Some journalists are helping push the Democrats’ rewriting of McConnell’s words along. In Newsweek, Nicole Goodkind wrote:

Democrats, meanwhile, jumped on McConnell’s admission as proof that Republicans had long planned to cut entitlement spending to fund the tax cuts that largely benefit corporations and wealthy Americans. “The truth comes out! This was their deceptive plan all along,” said Representative Lois Frankel of Florida.

What admission? And what plan?

Goodkind’s readers never find out what McConnell said about the necessity of bipartisan action. They do, however, get to hear another Democrat decrying “Mitch McConnell’s plan to cut Medicare and Social Security.” (This is not the first time Goodkind has applied this kind of spin.)

Even policy experts are getting in on the act. Here’s how Teresa Ghilarducci rewrote the news: “Today Senate Leader Mitch McConnell said that Republican leaders will focus on cutting Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid.” (Headline: “Senate Republicans Set Sights On Cutting Social Security.”)

You can certainly make the case that Republicans should be seeking to rein in the growth of those programs; I’ve made that case myself. But there’s no sign that they have any plans to take up this challenge after the elections.

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