George Will: Consensus Is We Want A Welfare State Without Paying For It


STEPHANOPOULOS: And those House Republicans who are worried about Speaker Boehner do -- did not vote for the deal, are doing exactly what they -- they believe their constituents elected them to do.

WILL: They are dissenting from the great American consensus. I, again, think the journalistic narrative about Washington today is 180 degrees wrong. The problem in the country is a consensus that is broad. Republicans subscribe to it, too, which is that we should have a large, generous welfare state and not pay for it. That's the point about extending all the Bush tax rates for all except 0.5 percent of the country, is that we have now put off-limits the source of money in this country, which is the middle class, so we're not going to pay for the welfare state.

REICH: That narrative is fundamentally wrong. I think what the public does not fully grasp is that it's health care costs in the future combined with aging Baby Boomers that are driving these out-year deficits. It is not Social Security. It is not Medicare or Medicaid. It is the underlying dysfunctionality of our health care system. And the Affordable Care Act did not do enough to control long-term health care costs. That's what everybody in Washington ought to be focusing on right now.

WILL: But 10 years from now, 20 years from now, we're going to see two big changes in American life, much more reliance on private savings and means-testing of entitlement programs. I don't care who's president, I don't care who runs Congress. We're going to have both of these.

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