Once again, the New York Times has no shame and resorts to a lie
Being a little versed in Reagan's speeches, I could smell something was fishy from what Michelle Malkin has called "the fishwrap of record." Leonhardt took a quote from Reagan's 1964 speech, "A Time for Choosing," where Reagan was referring to Social Security, and -- purposely or in typical liberal ignorance -- merged it with his 1961 speech opposing Medicare.
It would have been too much to expect that Leonhardt would tell the truth, like linking to "The Southern Manifesto" as evidence that "conservatives have often viewed any expansion of government protections as a threat to capitalism." The 101 signers were primarily (perhaps all, I didn't check all the names) Democrats, like the anti-semite Thomas Abernathy.
What a liar Leonhardt is! Or perhaps he'll excuse himself that Democrats were conservatives then, like the Earth's magnetic poles are thought to reverse over time?
The federal income tax, a senator from New York said a century ago, might mean the end of “our distinctively American experiment of individual freedom.” Social Security was actually a plan “to Sovietize America,” a previous head of the Chamber of Commerce said in 1935. The minimum wage and mandated overtime pay were steps “in the direction of Communism, Bolshevism, fascism and Nazism,” the National Association of Manufacturers charged in 1938.And these warnings were correct, echoed in 1961 when Reagan warned of Medicaid as a way for socialism to get its foot in the door: let government start a small program under the guise of charity, then gradually expand it. "No government ever voluntarily reduces itself in size. So governments' programs, once launched, never disappear. Actually, a government bureau is the nearest thing to eternal life we'll ever see on this earth."
Reagan wasn't perfect. He believed in some government, including one powerful enough to force you to fund a massive defense of the homeland and allies. Nonetheless, he said a lot of good things that any lover of liberty should take to heart. People don't oppose Medicare because they want the elderly to be without health care; we oppose it on the basis of liberty, that a person should not be forced to subsidize the life of another. If you want to save an individual, or the world, open up your own pocketbook and inspire others. I understand the Obamas made a few coins last year, so let them go first.
But it's the very fact that the cause isn't worthwhile, that the administration is inefficient, and/or that there aren't enough people willing to fund the goal, that a government is needed to force people to participate. What rational person today, more than 20 years from retirement, would "invest" any money in Social Security? Or pay into Medicaid and Medicare, considering all their fraud? It's the same with socialized health insurance. Leonhardt talks about "lowering costs," which is because people are forced to pay for a service despite not needing or wanting it. It's certainly true that many healthy people buy health insurance policies they'll never fully use, but that's a risk they take voluntarily. The tyranny and collectivism Obama and the Clintons would lead us into is that all healthy people are needed to pay for everyone else.
"Yet anytime you and I question the schemes of the do-gooders, we're denounced as being against their humanitarian goals. They say we're always 'against' things—we're never 'for' anything."
"There is no [Social Security] fund, because Robert Byers, the actuarial head, appeared before a congressional committee and admitted that Social Security as of this moment is 298 billion dollars in the hole. But he said there should be no cause for worry because as long as they have the power to tax, they could always take away from the people whatever they needed to bail them out of trouble. And they're doing just that."
"Now it doesn't require expropriation or confiscation of private property or business to impose socialism on a people. What does it mean whether you hold the deed to the—or the title to your business or property if the government holds the power of life and death over that business or property? And such machinery already exists. The government can find some charge to bring against any concern it chooses to prosecute. Every businessman has his own tale of harassment. Somewhere a perversion has taken place. Our natural, unalienable rights are now considered to be a dispensation of government, and freedom has never been so fragile, so close to slipping from our grasp as it is at this moment."
Now contrast the Gipper with Leonhardt's idiocy: "Guaranteeing people a decent retirement and decent health care does more than smooth out the rough edges of capitalism. Those guarantees give people the freedom to take risks. If you know that professional failure won’t leave you penniless and won’t prevent your child from receiving needed medical care, you can leave the comfort of a large corporation and take a chance on your own idea. You can take a shot at becoming the next great American entrepreneur."
In other words, Leonhardt says the government should take care of you, no matter how stupid you are in your life choices -- at the expense of everyone else who was responsible and did make good choices.
The great entrepreneurs were not just risk-takers. They made correct choices, and they never relied on forcing government to save them from their mistakes. Of course, for every Andrew Carnegie, Cornelius Vanderbilt or Steve Jobs are uncountable people who failed. But they didn't fail because of moral deficiency, but simply because they made errors in offering a product or service. That still does not give them the right to force others to give them a safety net.