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May 22, 2015

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Letter to the editor:

GOP presidents and social programs: A reality check

George Will’s Friday column, “Sustaining the unsustainable,” dissects the debt-ceiling crisis. The Democrats, in his view, are to blame for the “entitlement culture” that is leading us to ruin.

(For some reason he never uses the words “Social Security,” “Medicare” or “Medicaid” when referring to the “entitlement culture.” You’d have to ask him.)

Here’s my problem: Since President Lyndon Johnson, there have been five Republican presidents — Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford, Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush and George W. Bush.

All of these White House occupants have been aware of these social programs. All, obviously, have been baptized in Republicanism. Most important, all have had the bully pulpit.

Which one of them made any effort to end these programs? And, anyway, how do you run a modern industrial state without programs like these?

I find the George Wills of the world to be curious oddities. They’re positive that they’re right, but they have no idea how the world they strive for would actually work.

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