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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