Can We Stop Calling It ‘Entitlement Reform’?

I’m watching The Ed Show on MSNBC and the first half-hour has been all about the “fiscal cliff” (which we know is neither), and the Republican insistence that entitlement reform be part of any budget deficit deal.

The first thing Democrats and liberals can do (and I’m including you Ed Schultz) is stop using Republican language. Stop calling it “entitlement reform.” When Republicans speak of entitlement reform they are including things like Social Security and Medicare.

I know that it is standard practice to refer to Social Security and Medicare as entitlement programs. I know that if you look up the word “entitlement,” one of the definitions will refer to government benefits. But the word is misleading. It suggests, to some, benefits which have not been earned. This means at best “entitlement” is an inaccurate and misleading description for programs that are actually social insurance programs that we all pay into.

So if we liberals are going to talk about entitlement reform (even if it’s to say we are against cuts), I suggest we start referring to it as “social insurance reform”. Or better yet, just say Medicare reform or Social Security reform to make sure everyone knows which programs will be affected.

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#entitlement#entitlement reform#fiscal cliff#medicare#social insurance#social insurance reform#social security

  • Steve

    Yeah, this has always bugged me. Social Security is a great example. Yeah, I’m entitled to it – IT’S MY MONEY! But calling it an “entitlement” is a conscious effort by the right to imply that we’re asking for a free handout.

    • Yep. If we are going to give it a label or name, Social Security is closer to a retirement program then it is to an entitlement program. I don’t call my IRA or any other retirement account an entitlement, so why would I call Social Security an entitlement? And it’s the combination of people calling it an entitlement along with continually sounding the alarm that it’s going broke (when it isn’t) that makes so many people, especially younger adults, believe Social Security won’t be there when they retire. The only way it won’t be there is if we let people who want to kill it (privatize it) get their way.