Fox News Channel host Bill O’Reilly is still defending his controversial post-election remarks about the entitlement state, and now he’s getting an assist from conservative columnist Charles Krauthammer.
O’Reilly has been taking plenty of heat for saying President Barack Obama re-election was proof that the American electorate deviated from traditional values and now has a sense of entitlement. The Washington Post editorial board later took issue with O’Reilly’s remarks, and he fired back on Monday
O’Reilly sought out an explanation for the criticism from syndicated Washington Post columnist Charles Krauthammer, who explained to O’Reilly the modern Democratic Party is “the party of the entitlement state.”
“Well, look, that’s small bore stuff, I think,” Krauthammer said on Tuesday’s “The O’Reilly Factor.”
“It’s completely undeniable that the Democrats are the party of the entitlement state. After all, what is the greatest achievement of Obama’s first term? Obamacare. Obamacare is premised on the right to health care. This is the largest new entitlement in 50 years. It’s one-sixth of the U.S. economy. Its health care, which is the most intimate sort of social relationship anyone, any parent, any child can have. And it’s been essentially nationalized.”
“And the Democrats proudly said, ‘We’ve done this because we’re the only industrialized country not to have guaranteed health insurance.’ So no one can deny that the ideal of the Democratic Party is to increase entitlements. It’s just made the biggest leap in half a century. And that it is a social democratic model on the European scale and taking us away from the traditional American model of more risk, more initiative and more innovation.”
As for the racism charges aimed at O’Reilly for his remarks, Krauthammer said that one could compare the United States’ push toward social democracy to that of Western Europe.
“I think traditionally Democrats have been getting their demographic for a very long time,” Krauthammer said. “That skew in social class is to who gets the vote, Democrat or Republican, has been around for a long time. I think it’s a plausible theory. I don’t think it’s a proven fact. And I don’t think as some people have implied, that it’s racist, simply because the European state, which is the model of the entitlement state, there it’s not a matter of race, it’s not a matter of racial minorities. It’s a matter of a population growing up with the idea of being entitled and the best example of that is in France — Sarkozy a couple years ago raised the retirement age from 60 to 62. And you know what happened? Students rioted in the streets of Paris, broke store front windows.
“Think about that. Here are people who never held a job in their life and they’re rioting because 40 years hence they might have to stay in their last job two more years. That’s the entitlement society. And that’s beyond dependency. That’s decadence.”
In the end, Krauthammer argued that the European welfare model isn’t sustainable and is now “collapsing in front of our eyes.”
“Let me tell you one thing,” Krauthammer added. “They won’t and they can’t win in the end. And the reason is that it is simply unsustainable. Thirty years ago we could have had the debate in Reagan days of whether the entitlement state or the safety net state is superior. That argument is no longer theoretical. It’s empirical. History has spoken. Western Europe is collapsing in front of our eyes. That 65 year experiment with social democracy is dead. So we already know what it is. Herb Stein, the great economist, once said if something can’t go on, it won’t. Think about that. It won’t. At some point you’re going to a wall … at some point when it can’t go on, it won’t. And that’s when the reform will happen.”