While arguing why the Senate's proposed "0.5 increase in the Medicare payroll tax on upper-income people: individuals earning more than $200,000, families earning more than $250,000" is unlikely to pass, Frum explains a basic political truth:

As payroll taxes become more “progressive,” the programs they support become more blatantly redistributionist. And smart Democrats from FDR onward have always understood that the secret of popularity for a government program is to appear non-redistributive: everybody pays, everybody gets. Then you can say: It’s insurance, not welfare. With this measure, Medicare becomes more welfare-like and therefore more politically vulnerable.

Which is a start.

We want to hear what you think about this article. Submit a letter to the editor or write to letters@theatlantic.com.