I agree with Patrick Rufini. The Republicans’ plan to fix social security involves us all becoming a bit richer. When we get richer, we need the government less. Democrats thrive based on our need to need the government. Therefore, reducing our need for the government reduces our need for the Democrats, which is a proposition the Dems can’t handle.
George Will has thoughts on the matter as well.
Bush does not need to attempt it. The current estimate — it probably will be revised upward, again — is that Social Security outlays will not exceed revenues until 2018. So Bush could have kicked this can down the road, which is what democratic governments are wont to do.
Democracies generally do difficult things only under the lash of necessity. The British tardily brought Churchill to power in May 1940, only because Hitler’s tanks were heading for the Channel ports. In the 1930s, Americans fundamentally changed their relationship to the federal government only because they were afraid that, absent sweeping changes, they might be consigned to permanent stagnation. In the 1960s, the nation addressed its civil rights shortcomings only because they had ignited a crisis, threatening domestic tranquility.