Reforming the Entitlement Title - The American Spectator | USA News and Politics
Reforming the Entitlement Title

Entitlement programs are irksome for countless reasons, and lately, the more I think about it, the more I find the very label “entitlement program” adding to the vexation.

Which side of the political aisle coined this phrase, I wonder? Those in favor of a myriad of social welfare programs might consider “entitlement” a fine word to denote a right to government benefits. A “sense of entitlement,” by contrast, carries with it a much more negative connotation of snobbish superiority, and is even considered a personality disorder:

A ‘Sense of Entitlement’ is an unrealistic, unmerited or inappropriate expectation of favorable living conditions and favorable treatment at the hands of others. [Sufferers] may appear at times to care only about their own desires and needs at the expense of other people around them or they may habitually prioritize their own needs above those of others.

To “earn” benefits such as unemployment, one is required by the government to do nothing. Jim Huffman of the Daily Caller clarifies the problem with the “entitlement” title:

In any legal sense of the term, Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid are not entitlements. Unlike public employee pensions, which are contractual obligations now threatening to bankrupt state and local governments, Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid benefits can be modified, or even eliminated, by a majority vote of both houses of Congress along with the president’s signature. They are benefits, not entitlements.

Were I to possess such power in the media, I would work to re-label the “entitlement” descriptor to something more accurate, say, “elitist”? Or perhaps identify all proponents of “entitlement programs” as “mentally unstable”? 

Paul Kengor
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Paul Kengor is professor of political science at Grove City College in Grove City, Pa., and senior academic fellow at the Center for Vision & Values. Dr. Kengor is author of over a dozen books, including A Pope and a President: John Paul II, Ronald Reagan, and the Extraordinary Untold Story of the 20th Century, The Politically Incorrect Guide to Communism, and Dupes: How America’s Adversaries Have Manipulated Progressives for a Century.
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