I had to chuckle as I read Josh Raisher’s comment that Social Security and Medicare are “two of the most popular government programs in history” and that “If universal support is a rebuke, well, then let us liberals be rebuked again” [“What progressives have gotten right,” letters, Jan. 1].

A classroom of second-graders will unanimously “scream for ice cream” in the school cafeteria while their teacher will chide them to “eat your fruit and vegetables.” Who should be rebuked in this case, the children or the teacher? 

Social Security and Medicare, despite their purported universal popularity, are on a vector to sink our economy. If popularity is to be the metric of success, then “ice cream for everyone!,” I say. We’ll end up fat and malnourished, but, hey, at least it will be popular. If given a choice between conservative intelligence or progressive popularity, I’ll choose the former every time.

Patrick McGinn, California, Md.