claims in context

One of the common criticisms of mainstream journalism is the lack of historical context.  Stories seem like they came out of nowhere without any sense of how we got there.  Historical context is particularly valuable concerning claims that have been made before, and proven wrong in light of hindsight.  Columnist Nick Kristoff considers a number of claims made about health care issues in news accounts concerning programs like Medicare and Social Security.  

Indeed, these same arguments we hear today against health reform were used even earlier, to attack President Franklin Roosevelt’s call for Social Security. It was denounced as a socialist program that would compete with private insurers and add to Americans’ tax burden so as to kill jobs.

Daniel Reed, a Republican representative from New York, predicted that with Social Security, Americans would come to feel “the lash of the dictator.” Senator Daniel Hastings, a Delaware Republican, declared that Social Security would “end the progress of a great country.”

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