His campaign fizzled but his achievement endures, and his place in liberalism's pantheon is secure. His COLA, which began in 1975, is the entitlement that proves that the entitlement system, like the universe, will expand until, perhaps like the universe, it collapses in on itself.
Barack Obama has now established Mills's Social Security COLA as the capstone to the architecture of the entitlement culture that is modern liberalism's crowning achievement: It is an entitlement to which you are entitled even when you are not entitled to it. Obama says that 57 million Americans -- every Social Security beneficiary and some other recipients of federal entitlements -- are entitled to $250 apiece to assuage the disappointment of having not been injured by inflation. Because the cost of living declined 4 percent last year, the 57 million are not entitled to the actual COLA, but they evidently are going to be declared entitled to monetary consolation for the misfortune of not experiencing misfortune.