Silly Words Series: #2 Entitlement Program*

What it supposedly means:

A program to give free money away to poor people who absolutely need** it.

Why it’s silly:

First and foremost, let’s take a look at that first word: entitlement. What are people in the programs “entitled” to? Your money. They didn’t earn it, yet they are entitled to it. Yeah, that doesn’t make sense to me either.

I personally do not think that anyone should receive my money or anyone else’s without earning it. Another way to think about “entitlements” is to think about them in terms of “rights.” “Rights” is another frequently misused word with a meaning similar to “entitlement.” You see, you have a right to certain things. For instance, you have the right to life, liberty, the pursuit of happiness, and property (in other words, to keep your own property). You also have the right to bear arms, but that is another post. You do not have the right to take things that are not yours (that’s called stealing). You do not have the right to birth control. You do not have the right have a house. In other words, you are not entitled to any of these things.

One of the problems with “entitlement programs” is that they gives people a sense of, well, entitlement. While you may not realize it, these programs are dangerous. They create a culture where it is perfectly okay for people to demand things that they have no right to. The programs foster laziness. If you’re going to get money whether you work or not, then why work? They do away with the idea that some things are earned. Mr. Franklin put it quite nicely.

franklin quote

Entitlement program is a phrase that is bandied about quite a bit these day, particularly by politicians who do not understand why it is a silly word. So, when you hear this word, try to remember what it really means and why it’s so dangerous.

 

* Yes, I know this is two words. If that bugs you, then you can think about this particular topic as a “Silly Phrase.”

** I use that word in sarcasm, but I do understand that people do occasionally need assistance.

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18 thoughts on “Silly Words Series: #2 Entitlement Program*

  1. Politicians get forgetting the folks that went war to fight for this country. They seem to think that everyone is trying to get over and it’s not true.

    Mr.MakingUsmile

  2. Chuck Wydeven says:

    I paid into Social Security since 1965. Now that I am retired I am entitled to collect benefits. When I was 29, the company that I worked for went out of bussiness. I worked for that company for six years and the company paid into the unemployment fund and I paid state and federal taxes to fund the beuracracy. So I was entitled to collect unemployment compensation. I also recieved food stamps for a while at that time too. I worked and I paid taxes so I was entitled to food stamps until I found work. I am a productive member of society and I have filed an income tax return since I was 15 years old. This is what civilisation is about. What is it about this that you Ayn Rand worshippers don’t get?

    • Yes sir. You see, from what I can see, you actually do deserve what you have been given. You have earned it. However, it is a fact that there are many who have not. It is these who I am addressing. If you felt slighted, that was not my intention.

      By the way, I dislike Ayn Rand intensely. I find her ideology somewhat skewed. Also, I didn’t like her writing style. I am not looking forward to having to finish Atlas Shrugged for my literature class.

    • Thank you!!! I also think that some people miss the point that the people getting the most “entitlements” are filthy rich. Filthy. This is FACT. Anyone in the “99 %” missing that important point is falling right into the trap set for them.

  3. Amazing that someone has a grasp on the English Language. I am so fed up with the knowledge that because I raised my children to work for the things they want in life, they will be the ones supporting all the carpet baggers who refuse to get a job and earn a living. Not enough people are realizing that they are doing their kids no favors by just giving them stuff instead of making them earn it. I don’t buy video games for my kids but they have them because they earn the money to buy it themselves. Teaching kids the value of hard work also makes them take care of the items better.

  4. Kirk says:

    Excellent post. I got here from the Matt Walsh blog via your link. Maybe you can get to my blog too! Lot’s of good tax info for anyone!

  5. Trish says:

    My issue with “entitlement programs” is that the language doesn’t fit the fact that I paid into Medicare and Social Security all my life, and if I hadn’t been forced to pay into those programs, I could have provided medical care and retirement for myself. Now that I am getting closer to the age when I will need those programs that I paid for, I’m being told that they are “entitlement programs” and that cuts will have to be made, all because my money was paid out to other people before I became eligible to get my money back. Our federal government can’t manage anything very well, and this is one example.

  6. Chad McCall says:

    You make an interesting point about semantics, but the entrenched idea of entitled beggars living off the government dime doesn’t really fit the reality. Taking Food Stamps as an example, 49% of all recipients are children, two-thirds of whom live in single parent households. 76% of benefits go to families (or as it is worded, “households with children”), 16% to households with disabled people, and 9% to the elderly (source: http://www.snaptohealth.org/snap/snap-frequently-asked-questions/ ) Obviously, there is some overlap in these numbers, but one can assume they take up a large portion.

    In addition, as of 2011, 40% of Food Stamp recipients lived in households where there was another source of income, and 29% of food stamp households had earnings (that is, around 11% lived with people that worked but were considered separate households). And of these families, less than 10% receive cash welfare. (source: http://blogs.usda.gov/2011/06/24/fact-vs-fiction-usda%E2%80%99s-supplemental-nutrition-assistance-program/ )

    And of course, chances are a significant number of people who ARE the lazy bums are suffering from some form of mental illness which would make it impossible for them to work. Fraud and laziness do exist, of course, but they are not nearly in the epidemic proportions that are assumed by many who hold your views.

    • 1. You seemed to have missed the point, because this post was about the words “Entitlement Program” and the dangers of the word itself.
      2. If you want to focus on food stamps, then how about these numbers: 20% of the US spent time on food stamps last year. That is more than the population of Spain. So even if the number of lazy bums is low, it is still a big problem.
      3. My problem with entitlement programs is not that they are for people who need help, but that they tell these people that they are entitled to my money, and they are not. They have not earned it.

      We can help these people as a nation, but not through the government taking our money and giving it to people without our permission. You cannot force charity, because the moment that you do, it is no longer charity.

      • Chad McCall says:

        1. That’s why I said you have an interesting point about semantics.
        2. Yes, it is a big problem, but the problem isn’t necessarily with the programs themselves, but rather with the low wages paid to bottom-rung employees as well as other economic factors.
        3. This is an issue because there are two [relevant] definitions of entitlement that have two distinct origins. 1) “a government program providing benefits to members of a specified group”, and 2) “belief that one is deserving of or entitled to certain privileges”. I’m having trouble finding my source again, but basically the two meanings developed separately with two completely different connotations and then mixed into the loaded monstrosity it has become today.

        As far as the government taking our money, you are absolutely right, but the only people whose money is being taken without permission are the residents of the District of Columbia. Kind of why we have elected representatives. And of course it’s not charity, nor is it meant to be. Charity and entitlement (the government one) have mutually exclusive definitions.

      • You noticed that did you? 🙂 Thanks for dropping by.

  7. Great post–a lot of people confuse the right to the “pursuit of happiness” with the right to just plain happiness, but that was not our forefathers’ intention. 🙂

  8. […] 2. Silly Words Series: #2 Entitlement Program […]

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