Our take: David Brooks observes that presidential candidate Mitt Romney's rhetoric shows a shift in the Republican Party "from the Reaganesque language of common citizenship to the libertarian language of makers and takers." Brooks laments that while the country may need Romney's entitlement reform policies that Romney's rhetorical missteps may deprive him of the chance to implement those policies.
"In 1980, about 30 percent of Americans received some form of government benefits. Today, as Nicholas Eberstadt of the American Enterprise Institute has pointed out, about 49 percent do.
"In 1960, government transfers to individuals totaled $24 billion. By 2010, that total was 100 times as large. Even after adjusting for inflation, entitlement transfers to individuals have grown by more than 700 percent over the last 50 years. This spending surge, Eberstadt notes, has increased faster under Republican administrations than Democratic ones.
"There are sensible conclusions to be drawn from these facts. You could say that the entitlement state is growing at an unsustainable rate and will bankrupt the country. You could also say that America is spending way too much on health care for the elderly and way too little on young families and investments in the future."