Actually, the author plays more to the "historic shift," which it is. Read it again. While it may not meet your model of socialism, which requires a more deviant government, it is yet another step towards it. The difference is the negative income tax.
Seemingly overlooked by the author are McCain's own proposals towards that end, specifically in the $5k refundable tax credit offered for health care. Both candidates will grow the government, after 8 years of unencumbered growth and what I consider to be an even more disgusting socialistic power grab in the $700 billion bailout embraced by both parties.
Summation: I agree with the authors conclusion on BO. I disagree that Jmac is significantly different.
I understand fully that there are monies going to people from the government. I understand that they are going to be, in some cases "gifts" as the folks will not have paid taxes [or enough taxes] to make a balance.
But that said, the point that I have been trying to look at since this whole thing came up is that it simply is NOT Socialism and I really don't think it is "a step toward" Socialism as that requires a endgame that just does not exist nor is it conceivable in a Capitalistic Economy.
Using a annoying analogy, if you have a daughter who, at 15 and 5'6" weighs 120 pounds, when she gains a couple of pounds for whatever reason you say "You're getting fat". "You are on the road to FAT". Nevermind that, at 15 muscle mass changes, hormones change, and it may just be that she is meeting a boy at the Sonic having a milkshake once or twice a week. But because you see ONE indicator, you assume she is getting FAT.
That is what I see with these calls of Socialism. Other than the intent to induce Fear, Uncertainty, Confusion and Dread, folks make the leap that, because X is happening in a Capitalism Economy and X also happens in a Socialism Economy, THEREFORE we must be making the leap to Socialism.
It is very possible for X to occur in BOTH types of economies without osmosis occuring. But the LEAP assumes that it must.