By Matthew Rothschild on April 11, 2011

Republican leaders are finally coming out and saying what they've wanted to do all along -- and that's to rollback the New Deal and the social programs that followed. Even though the vast majority of Americans support Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid, the Republicans are taking direct aim at these programs.

Paul Ryan's budget was the first shot.

Paul Krugman has already knocked the crap out of Paul Ryan's budget, and there was lot to knock out of it. (In addition to his published columns in the Times, his blog has been indispensable -- http://krugman.blogs.nytimes.com. Economist Dean Baker has also torn it to shreds.

But this has not slowed down the Republicans any.

House Majority Leader Eric Cantor was on Fox on Sunday with Chris Wallace, and he was about as blunt as he could be:

"We'll protect today's seniors and those nearing retirement, but for the rest of us, all of us, who are 54 and younger, I know the programs are not going to be there."

Or, as he recently told NPR, "We're going to have to come to grips with the fact that these programs cannot exist if we want America to be what we want America to be."

Ah, there's the rub, though. What Eric Cantor and Paul Ryan and John Boehner want America to be is not what you and I want America to be.

They want an America not only where the rich dominate; in case you hadn't noticed, we're in that America already. But they also want an America where there is no support or protection for the rest of us. They don't believe government ought to "promote the general welfare" -- only the specific welfare of the top 1 percent.

No one else matters.

If you liked this story by Matthew Rothschild, the editor of The Progressive magazine, check out his story "Walker and Cronies Are Lawless Bastards!"

Follow Matthew Rothschild @mattrothschild on Twitter.

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By Wendell Berry

Manifesto: The Mad Farmer Liberation Front

Love the quick profit, the annual raise,
vacation with pay. Want more 
of everything ready made. Be afraid 
to know your neighbors and to die.
And you will have a window in your head.
Not even your future will be a mystery 
any more. Your mind will be punched in a card 
and shut away in a little drawer.
When they want you to buy something 
they will call you. When they want you
to die for profit they will let you know. 
So, friends, every day do something
that won’t compute. Love the Lord. 
Love the world. Work for nothing. 
Take all that you have and be poor.
Love someone who does not deserve it. 
Denounce the government and embrace 
the flag. Hope to live in that free 
republic for which it stands. 
Give your approval to all you cannot
understand. Praise ignorance, for what man 
has not encountered he has not destroyed.
Ask the questions that have no answers. 
Invest in the millennium. Plant sequoias.
Say that your main crop is the forest
that you did not plant,
that you will not live to harvest.


Say that the leaves are harvested 
when they have rotted into the mold.
Call that profit. Prophesy such returns.
Put your faith in the two inches of humus 
that will build under the trees
every thousand years.
Listen to carrion—put your ear
close, and hear the faint chattering
of the songs that are to come. 
Expect the end of the world. Laugh. 
Laughter is immeasurable. Be joyful
though you have considered all the facts. 
So long as women do not go cheap 
for power, please women more than men.
Ask yourself: Will this satisfy 
a woman satisfied to bear a child?
Will this disturb the sleep 
of a woman near to giving birth? 
Go with your love to the fields.
Lie easy in the shade. Rest your head 
in her lap. Swear allegiance 
to what is nighest your thoughts.
As soon as the generals and the politicos 
can predict the motions of your mind, 
lose it. Leave it as a sign 
to mark the false trail, the way 
you didn’t go. Be like the fox 
who makes more tracks than necessary, 
some in the wrong direction.
Practice resurrection.

Wendell Berry is a poet, farmer, and environmentalist in Kentucky. This poem, first published in 1973, is reprinted by permission of the author and appears in his “New Collected Poems” (Counterpoint).


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