President Obama: Paul Ryan's Budget Is 'Radical,' 'Social Darwinism'

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It's taken nearly four years, but President Obama finally gets it. There's nothing "conservative" about the current Republican party. It's radical. And he should say so.

President Obama on Tuesday is expected to take aim at House Republicans, calling the budget proposal put forward by Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) "a Trojan horse" that seeks to "impose a radical vision" on the United States.

"It's nothing but thinly veiled Social Darwinism," Obama will say at an Associated Press lunch, according to prepared remarks released by the White House. "It's antithetical to our entire history as a land of opportunity and upward mobility for everyone who's willing to work for it, a place where prosperity doesn't trickle down from the top, but grows outward from the heart of the middle class."

I'm not sure I agree that it's antithetical to our entire history. I think it's of a piece with the Republicanism of the Gilded Age. When businesses could pollute, violently put down strikes and employ child labor. When there was no income tax, no Estate Tax, and no social safety net. When the US Senate was a wholly-owned subsidiary of the trusts.

This is the time Republicans like Paul Ryan pine for. To them, America went off the rails with the Progressive Era (ironically championed by a Republican, Teddy Roosevelt), which set the stage for the New Deal and Great Society. They view progressive taxation as immoral and they don't believe government has any right to tell private businesses who they can hire and what they can pay. They are Randian Social Darwinists who think the rich are rich because they're morally superior and the poor are poor because they're not, and any interference with that (i.e., Social Security) is a violation of the natural order.

These people have nothing but contempt for the past 100 years of steady progress. Their positions aren't fact-based, they're faith-based -- so there's no reasoning with them.

Better late than never, Mr. President.


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