As the politicians posture over the budget, Americans sense that something deeper has gone wrong. They're right. Robert J. Samuelson examines the exaggerated hopes and fears of the Age of Entitlement--and what our leaders must do to instill a sense of reality. ..MR0- The paradox of our time is that we are feeling bad about doing well.
We are now engaged in another shouting match over whether wages and living standards are -- or are not -- rising. In the latest version, surging profits are said to have suppressed wage increases. "Profits are up," complains Labor Secretary Robert Reich, "paychecks are not." Bunk, say critics mainly (though not exclusively) to Reich's Right.
Welcome To The 21ST century, where older Americans will work longer and their government checks will be smaller. By tackling Medicare, Congress is finally confronting the essence of the "entitlement problem" -- spending on the elderly-and the implications extend well beyond the next budget.
Among Republicans, cutting taxes has always been macho. Writing recently in The Wall Street Journal, House Speaker Newt Gingrich said the case for tax cuts rests on the "key principle" of the "Contract With America," which is: "The American government's money does not belong to the American government.
THE CONSTITUTION IS NOT A SLEDGEHAMMER, IT EMBODIES broad principles of government and enduring national values. As such, it commands deep public respect and even reverence, There's a temptation to think that its power and mystique can bludgeon public opinion into convenient consensus on hard issues.