Brad DeLong and Theories of the moocher class

Brad DeLong notices the vagaries of the theories of the mooschers class:

Now politicians like Paul Ryan who used to say things like:

Right now about 60 percent of the American people get more benefits in dollar value from the federal government than they pay back in taxes. So we’re going to a majority of takers versus makers…

are saying, instead:

No one is suggesting that what we call our earned entitlements–entitlements you pay for, like payroll taxes for Medicare and Social Security–are putting you in a ‘taker’ category. No one would suggest that whatsoever.”

How long will it be before the likes of Veronique de Rugy stop denouncing Social Security, Medicare, Unemployment Insurance, etc. as programs that have turned us into “a nation of takers”, and stop denouncing these programs beneficiaries as “moochers”?

It is in some ways very odd. It used to be that critics of the welfare state pointed to high net marginal tax rates and argued that they had high deadweight losses. Sometimes they had a point. Then, after bipartisan reforms, we got to a point where there were few high net marginal tax rates large enough to induce large deadweight losses.

And then, in the blink of an eye, the problem became not public-finance deadweight losses but, rather, the moocher class, the nation of takers, etc.

(Dan here…the Veronique de Rugy quote is over at Brad DeLong’s site)