For liberals, it is lovely to see Republicans stand up for one of the great achievements of Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal. Mitt Romney is not going to let go of Rick Perry’s disparaging statements about Social Security, the Texas governor’s condemnation of it as a “Ponzi scheme,” and his questions about the program’s constitutionality. And Romney is smart to stay at him. Republicans may say they hate big government, but most of them — particularly those over 65 — love Social Security.
And so this morning came a news release from the Romney campaign quoting four Florida elected officials in advance of Thursday’s debate hitting Perry hard on the issue. FDR’s defenders (excuse me, Perry’s critics) included U.S. Reps. Connie Mack and Tom Rooney and state Sens. John Thrasher and Anitere Flores. It’s delightful to see conservatives trot out the sorts of arguments progressives make all the time and that right-wingers almost always condemn.
“We live in a mobile world,” Thrasher said. “People are constantly moving from state to state. Does Rick Perry think it will be feasible for someone to expect to receive all their benefits when they have lived in many states over their lifetime?”
So it turns out that states’ rights are not absolute. Indeed, bless him, Thrasher makes an argument that liberals make all the time: In a country with a national economy and a highly mobile population, national programs — in areas like health insurance, for example — often make a lot more sense than state-based programs.
Then there is this from this from Mack: “Rick Perry has said that he wants Social Security to go back to the states. Given the challenging budgetary situation many states are already in, his plan could put retirees and near-retirees in an even more precarious position. Would states like Florida have to choose between honoring our promises to seniors and paying for education and public safety?”
Well, well. So conservatives now readily admit that states can’t do everything, that federal programs actually help state governments and that we need to be careful about how much our states and localities cut education spending. Any chance Mack will extend his excellent logic and endorse President Obama’s program to prevent teacher layoffs?
And I wonder what the Tea Party will have to say to these distinguished public servants.