Do I get to opt out of this contract?

I don’t wish to be a part of the new social contract proposed by two history professors. Contracts are, or should be, voluntary. I don’t think the authors have that in mind.

For the first time since 1964, Democrats have a good chance not just to win the White House and a majority in Congress but to enact a sweeping new liberal agenda. Conservative ideas are widely discredited, as is the Republican Party that the right has controlled since Ronald Reagan was elected. …

I’m not interested in defending the Republican Party, but this is petty, partisan propaganda. We haven’t tried “conservative” ideas, which I take to mean limited government, in many years. The current administration, and its sychophants in Congress, hardly represent conservative, limited government. Do we really need to walk through a list of the past seven years? Or do we need to wait until the next four-to-eight years are finished and look back and compare successes, or more likely, failures?

The new agenda focuses on protecting middle-class families from the insecurities of the global economy.

How about an agenda focused on all individuals in our society, rather than just middle-class families? Besides, isn’t an obsessive focus on families as the building blocks of society a conservative idea that’s been discredited?

Obama speaks of strengthening families by putting “the rungs back on that ladder to the middle class,” giving “every family the chance that so many of our parents and grandparents had.”

He also speaks of breaking the rungs on that ladder that lead higher than the middle class. Striving higher would be bad, but attempting to stay higher would also be bad. This is implicit in much of his tax ideas.

Also, many of our parents and grandparents had no indoor plumbing at some point early in their lives. It’s a shame we’ve only progressed backwards.

He calls for a tax credit to offset the Social Security tax …

It would be more efficient (and honest) to restructure the payroll tax to reflect an exemption up to a defined salary figure.

Social Security gave support to the elderly, lessening the burden on their children.

This is the height of the fantastical nonsense in the essay. Social Security gave support to the elderly, (possibly) lessening the direct burden on their children. It also increased the indirect burden on their children all younger workers. Not that the return on that support (i.e. payroll taxes) is sufficient to support a retiree. I earn a decent income and I could not live now on the benefits I’m being promised in 2040.

The authors eventually seem to unite on a vision that reshaping our nation on a vision of a national, unionized economy will resolve everything. Like the rest of their pleasant proclamations, they provide no basis for any of this superficial argument. They ignore the all data contradicting this wishful thinking. How are unions treating the auto industry in Detroit, for example? And bowing before the record of FDR is an unwise tactic to convince anyone who’s bothered to understand basic economics.