First Bruce Bartlett, then Ramesh Ponnuru, and now David Frum via Ed Morrissey. Conservative intellectuals are reassessing their stance on welfare. Turns out it’s not such a bad thing at all. In some cases it can be practical.
In practical terms, the entitlement programs we have cannot be dismantled, as Randian purists would prefer. Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security are too popular for repeal, and more importantly, deliver a level of living standards on which millions of Americans rely — standards that would plummet in these programs’ absence. Instead of denying that, practical conservatism would embrace that — because on the trajectory of current policy, these programs will utterly collapse at some point. There is, after all, nothing compassionate about a default, or about sticking succeeding generations with the bill for benefits we enjoy in the present.