Saturday, September 3, 2011

entitlement


I decided to look up the word 'entitlement' since Republicans are throwing it around like it's a dirty word.

en·ti·tle·ment \-ˈtī-təl-mənt\

1 a : the state or condition of being entitled : right
b : a right to benefits specified especially by law or contract
2 : a government program providing benefits to members of a specified group; also : funds supporting or distributed by such a program
3 : belief that one is deserving of or entitled to certain privileges


-"a right to benefits specified especially by law or contract"

When we buy car insurance or homeowner's insurance, we enter into a contract with the insurance company that they will pay the damages when and  if we get in an accident or something happens to our home.  And although we all know how much insurance agencies will balk at paying claims, we are entitled to expect they will hold up their end of the bargain.

When every worker pays unemployment and social security and Medicare taxes with every paycheck, they are entering into a contract (one they have no say in by the way) with the government that says if they find themselves in need, the assistance will be there.  This is no more or less than another insurance policy but one you would hope they wouldn't try to wriggle out of.  And so, yes, we are entitled to that help when and if we need it.  


-"a government program providing benefits to members of a specified group; also : funds supporting or distributed by such a program"

Like benefits to veterans.  Young men and women who return from serving their country, maimed and traumatized, are entitled to help, having paid the most valuable of coin.

Yes, we are entitled.  We have fulfilled the terms of the agreement.


-"belief that one is deserving of or entitled to certain privileges"

When Republicans decry the sense of 'entitlement' this is the sneer they use with the word.  As if we are not deserving of the aid for which we have been paying with every single paycheck or with a limb or an eye.

These lawmakers who want to cut these programs out of the budget have a blind eye toward their own entitlements.

While members of Congress do pay some for their unparalleled health care benefits, 75% of their premiums are subsidized by the government.  So while I cannot afford health insurance for myself, I'm helping pay for theirs.

The average pay for Congress is $174K a year (party and house leaders get more) with automatic cost of living increases every year.  And for this they are in session an average of 140 days a year while everyone else in this country works at least 290 days.  However, getting them to increase the minimum wage to a living wage is nearly impossible.  Not only that, but during this recession while everyone else was getting pay cuts or losing their jobs, their pay increased by 5%.  (Just for comparison, the per capita personal income for 2009 was a little over $39K.)

Members of Congress also get an allowance of over $1 million to run their offices.  It goes to pay for their staff, rent, supplies and travel.  I wish someone would pay all that for me.  I'd love to have employees I didn't have to pay.  I'd even settle for having the gas I use being subsidized.

It's hard to have respect for people who seem to have totally lost touch with what it means to be an average American.

And there is nothing wrong with these 'entitlement' programs the government provides that people pay into their whole working lives. The only thing wrong about them is that Congress is able to abscond with the funds of a solvent program and use them to pay for something else they don't have the money for, like undeclared illegal wars.




11 comments:

  1. Agreed indeed! Great development of the concept. I am waiting for Republicans to say "let them eat cake". Would that they would suffer the same fate as Ms. Antoinette. EFH

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  2. i just wish they'd raise taxes on the upper crust already. i'd even be willing to pay more from the middle class if they'd get their acts together!

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  3. I would like to hear which incumbents in congress have turned down the fitness centers, medical care, barbershops, fact finding trips, annual raises, outrageous pensions and salaries for that matter, and the list is too numerous to name all of their entitlements which they have voted themselves.
    Entitlements? Please. Hypocrites all of them.

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  4. What I don't understand is: you know it, you've seen it, your commenters see it.

    What's wrong with that part of the populations that doesn't see it?

    What is WRONG with people?

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  5. Thanks Ellen. I really don't think it could be said any clearer than this. The problem is that Congress knows this and yet they continue to confuse the issues so that it looks like those of us who may be in need are abusing the system.

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  6. Very well written. Our elected officials have never been average Americans. Therein lies the problem.

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  7. It is always the most vulnerable who appear to be the first hit, whenever sweeping overnment cut-backs are made. Sadly, it is no different over here, my son heavily relies on his (already few enough) special needs clubs for any semblance of a social life, but the sparse funding is is due to be totally withdrawn from next year.

    I, and most others I know, would be happy to pay more taxes to improve our society - yes, I do feel the politicians have lost sight of those whom they are meant to serve.

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  8. Amen! Why will no one listen to Warren Buffet?

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  9. I'm with you Ellen. Republicans have made an art out of spinning terms to make them sound distasteful to those who can't (or don't) read for themselves.

    Don't get me started.

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I opened my big mouth, now it's your turn.