Krugman, Krugman, He's the Man: Tax-Cut Con

A result of the tax-cut crusade is that there is now a fundamental mismatch between the benefits Americans expect to receive from the government and the revenues government collect. This mismatch is already having profound effects at the state and local levels: teachers and policemen are being laid off and children are being denied health insurance. The federal government can mask its problems for a while, by running huge budget deficits, but it, too, will eventually have to decide whether to cut services or raise taxes. And we are not talking about minor policy adjustments. If taxes stay as low as they are now, government as we know it cannot be maintained. In particular, Social Security will have to become far less generous; Medicare will no longer be able to guarantee comprehensive medical care to older Americans; Medicaid will no longer provide basic medical care to the poor.
Which is the point - they're dismantling the programs that brought us out of the Depression. In Grover Norquist, we haven't had so dedicated an opponent of the American government since General Cornwallis.
In Norquist's vision, America a couple of decades from now will be a place in which elderly people make up a disproportionate share of the poor, as they did before Social Security. It will also be a country in which even middle-class elderly Americans are, in many cases, unable to afford expensive medical procedures or prescription drugs and in which poor Americans generally go without even basic health care. And it may well be a place in which only those who can afford expensive private schools can give their children a decent education.

But as Governor Riley of Alabama reminds us, that's a choice, not a necessity. The tax-cut crusade has created a situation in which something must give. But what gives -- whether we decide that the New Deal and the Great Society must go or that taxes aren't such a bad thing after all -- is up to us. The American people must decide what kind of a country we want to be.
For people with a conscience, the choice is clear. We must understand that we are fighting, not for our own political future, but for the actual future of every American, even the ones who honk horns as political discourse. Many of our neighbors do not understand what's at stake, but they can, and they will, if we will speak up and speak out.

Social Security and Medicare are lifeboats for many people, and Grover Norquist is bludgeoning the fingers of anyone with temerity enough to grab hold of the sides. How long can we let him get away with it?