Gerson goes on to quote Perry as follows:
“that the Progressive movement was the beginning of the deterioration of our Constitution from the standpoint of it being abused and misused to do things that Congress wanted to do, and/or the Supreme Court wanted to implement. The New Deal was the launching pad for the Washington largesse as we know it today.”
The Progressive movement that brought about things like the end of legalized segregation, discrimination on the basis of race, guaranteed the right to vote for African-Americans, protected defendants from overwhelming state power in criminal trials, reduced the poverty rate, improved educational standards for all Americans, electrified much of the rural south, and guaranteed access to medical care for our senior citizens is now responsible for 'the deterioration of our constitution' according to Mr. Perry. Does he really want to return to pre-New Deal America? An America where two classes of people existed, the very rich and the very poor. There was no 'middle class' to speak of in 1933. It, too, was created largely by the 'Progressive movement' Governor Perry disdains so much. And the creation of that middle class, not the rugged individualism Perry touts, is what created the 'American Century' and led the United States to become the most powerful nation on earth.
Gerson then states three possible outcomes of Perry's rhetorical attack on the New Deal:
- Republican primary voters will question his electability and turn towards Romney
- Republicans will embrace the message and alienate enough voters to reelect Obama
- Perry and the Republicans have tapped into an ideological sea change and will lead the nation out of the 70 long years of darkness imposed by radical liberalism
In the end, it is a fallacious argument to attribute America (and the world's) debt problems to social programs. Medicare and Social Security have both run a surplus for decades. Due to uncontrolled inflation in health care costs the surplus for Medicare will likely run out by 2021, if not sooner. Social Security currently has around $2.4 trillion in surplus and is expected to remain fully solvent through 2035, though reductions in the payroll tax designed to stimulate the economy may decrease that by a year or so. Reforms are necessary. Everyone agrees, liberals as well as rational conservatives.
The real problem, which radical conservatives are loathe to admit, is that they (and many Democrats) have pursued unwise fiscal policy since 2001, enacted huge tax cuts while fighting two wars, created a Medicare prescription drug benefit without paying for it, and expanded the defense budget. New spending coupled with tax cuts has created the problem, not the Progressive movement. Get it right Governor.