Liberals Find Themselves in Spending Trap
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The Washington budget dynamic now settling in ought to be a liberal’s nightmare.

The budget action last week in Congress, which locked in for the rest of the year the spending levels set in the much-ballyhooed sequester, establishes a pretty simple pattern: Squeeze money out of the military, but also squeeze money out of all varieties of domestic social programs the federal government runs, including those that protect the environment, help feed poor children and give rent assistance to needy families.

Meanwhile, the even bigger entitlement programs that really drive the deficit—Medicare, Social Security and Medicaid—are left nearly untouched.

One way to think about this pattern is that it leaves wealthy retirees living in gated golf-course communities with benefits that are unscathed, while Head Start programs for kids, or research by scientists in university laboratories, for that matter, take a hit.

That notion ought to give shivers to those who like programs in which the government does something other than just write checks. Yet the emergence of this pattern also is, in many ways, the fault of those on the left, who have long resisted every effort to rein in the growth of the entitlement spending that is now crowding out the other programs they love.

The logical evolution of this cycle is that Washington ultimately would become nothing but a machine that funds the military and dispenses money to government beneficiaries—and pays investors who are owed interest payments on the national debt. That would represent, among other things, a giant transfer of wealth from younger Americans to older Americans.

And guess what? This trend has been taking shape for years, and the sequester has only thrown it into sharper relief.

Read More (subscription required): Liberals Find Themselves in Spending Trap,
from The Wall Street Journal,