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Yuval complains, quite rightly, that a modest slowing in the rate of increase of spending on Social Security could only produce a small bargain with the Republicans. It’s not a justification for significantly higher taxes. But “progressive” Democrats are outraged that there could be any cuts in entitlements at all. Obama, so they say, is biting the hands the got him reelected. So we have more evidence that our president is positioning himself in the “conservative” center. He’s prudently preserving what people have for as long as possible.

Eventually we get overwhelmed if he doesn’t do more, Yuval complains. How can he be a progressive if he cuts anything at all, some Democrats complain? Both good points.

Progressives have faith in the future fueled by “big government,” and they have long-term plans for change. I just don’t see that in our president. Maybe there’s some grand strategy for what happens when ObamaCare collapses, but for now it’s seem more significant that they can’t even get its implementation started. And nobody—and I mean nobody—really knows what to do on the entitlement front, although Yuval’s plans are the best for containing the bleeding for a while. Certainly nobody really thinks that higher taxes are the ticket.

And anyone can see that today’s angry progressive Democrats are really the reactionaries, just as anyone can see that “our libertarian future” celebrated by some wouldn’t be so good for the middle class. So maybe Pete’s Republican concern for the sinking middle class (the sinking described, for example, in Murray’s COMING APART) is also reactionary in some Santorum-y kind of way.

Of course, I join Pete in being neither libertarian nor progressive. And I think the president’s conservatism—with its indifference to the scary challenges of our real future—is cowardly.

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