Tuesday, May 10, 2011

When did "entitlement" become a pejorative?

Preserving "entitlements" should be the first priority in the federal budget, not the last. In FDR's 1941 State of the Union Address, he suggested that the American Dream includes four freedoms: freedom of speech, freedom of worship, freedom from fear, and freedom from want.

Those last two are addressed by the social safety net we've managed to cobble together over the past 70 years. Today, that safety net includes Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, and federal unemployment insurance. These are what the Republicans refer to when they talk about cutting "entitlements."

But we are "entitled" to them. That's nothing to be embarrassed about. They aren't handouts. We pay for them out of every paycheck we earn. Before entitlements are put on the block, we need to squeeze every non-essential penny out of defense, eliminate corporate welfare, and force the elite to pay their fair share.

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