Definition of ENTITLEMENT
a : the state or condition of being entitled : rightb : a right to benefits specified especially by law or contract
: a government program providing benefits to members of a specified group; also : funds supporting or distributed by such a program
: belief that one is deserving of or entitled to certain privileges
I began formal work at age 14. Since that point in time, every pay check I have received has had a deduction for Social Security insurance and for disability insurance. Those withheld funds have been used by the government to create insurance programs so that workers will not end up penniless at retirement.
Included in the Social Security program is a medical insurance benefit intended to help those citizens over 65, who were essentially uninsurable until Medicare was enacted.
If I were a different person, I might have banked a 10 or 20 percent of my income in some sort of retirement fund. I didn’t and that can’t be changed. However, there have been enough recessions, embezzlements, and financial crime that any savings I did manage to put away vanished with market downturns and manipulations. Therefore, I am happy to have that income from Social Security.
If I had amassed a small fortune via the stock market or by maintaining retirement accounts and real estate manipulation, I would be receiving some income on a regular basis. If I had purchased the right sort of life insurance, I could now be living on income from that manipulation. No one would question my right to those funds that my actions would have entitled me to receive.
Down size the investment total and remove it from the ability of insurance companies and unscrupulous investors. Suddenly the fact that I have become entitled to a guaranteed income is regarded as money I am receiving, unearned. I have paid premiums for 51 years in order to have a small retirement income. I have paid premiums and still pay monthly premiums for Medicare health insurance coverage.
I contracted with my government to secure a small retirement income. That insurance policy is available today only because the private sector has not been allowed to touch premiums paid into the system by me and by people like me. That angers many investors and the GOP has incessantly tried to hand those funds over to their financial contributors. Part of their propaganda campaign to deliver social security premiums to the corporate world is to refer to monthly policy payments as “entitlements,” pronounced with a sneer.
What is happening is that Social Security and Medicare recipients are being denigrated because of the size of their premiums paid into the system. If we recipients had banked a hundred thousand dollars, a year we would be regarded differently by the private sector and our entitled status would be happily catered to by the Congress and the GOP/teavangelists. We can’t all be born wealthy. We can’t all work at jobs that pay $100,000 or more/year. We older Boomers are retiring now and many of us were once the people who staffed manufacturing plants, hospitals, and other former middle class job roles. Many of us worked in career fields that were less than lucrative and that did not manipulate other people’s financial security. It took me 30 years of technical field work to obtain a final income equal to what is now starting pay in my profession, if one can find a job in that field any more.
A portion of my retirement income results from injuries received in the service of the United States during time of war. I defy anyone to claim that I am freeloading when I accept that long-delayed compensation.
“Entitlement is not” a dirty word. It indicates that I have fulfilled a monetary agreement with my government to provide revenue and health care. I expect the Congress to honor that agreement without chicanery, embezzlement, or manipulation to benefit corporate banks and investors.
If the GOP could misappropriate the portion of our budget that is intended to pay for Social Security and health care, “entitlements” would be suddenly a good thing to be parceled out amongst the hedge fund managers and other high priests of greed and privilege. However, the program was constructed with every intent of avoiding those crimes that only became possible as the GOP nibbled away the safeguard regulations. It required 70 years of GOP assault to undo the economic protections put into place after the Great Depression. Now that generation is rapidly departing. As with the Holocaust, the eyewitnesses are no longer available to sound the alarms and warn of another assault on the global economy by the very rich and the very greedy.
The virus that causes otherwise respectable people to accept the lies proffered by the GOP/teavangelists are insidious and dangerous. It causes malfeasance, greed, bigotry, and the desire to vote against the best interests of the populace. Education is the only curative.
I refuse to be infected with that virus. I and all the retirees I know paid hard cash taken from our paychecks to provide the benefits of Social Security, Medicare, and SSDI. We are entitled to what we contracted for. Entitlements? Yes, according to all three definitions cited above.
What we don’t subscribe to is the GOP/teavangelist belief that being wealthy entitles one to live outside the legal and ethical codes of the nation or to be entitled to steal all they can from the private of public sector.