Entitlements: Six of These – Half a Dozen of the Other – The Business of Welfare
By Tommy Acosta
(December 29, 2012)
Fiscal conservatives rile against entitlements, wailing our tax dollars are keeping a welfare state in business; people receiving “gifts” from the public-treasure trove don’t deserve it; are on the dole; need to find jobs and contribute rather than take.
They say our Medicare and Social Security entitlement programs must be overhauled and trimmed in order to survive.
They state with conviction our tax dollars are keeping a welfare state in business.
Yes. This is true. But then, there is also the “business” of welfare.
Consider for a moment the financial consequences our country could suffer should entitlements be terminated or cut. Let’s ask a few questions no one so far has dared to answer.
What would happen to the ledgers of shop owners and food producers if those checks stopped coming to their food -stamp customers and seniors dependent on Social Security and supplemental aid?
Our yearly budget for Social Security is $720 billion; ironically, the same amount the nation spends on defense and the military, to put this in perspective.
Cut food stamps and Social Security and recipients would have no money to buy food and related products. The industry would lose billions. Our economy would suffer a serious hit to the midsection. People will go hungry.
What would happen if Medicare and Medicaid where eliminated or downsized?
A whopping $756 billion goes there every year. That’s $36 billion more than we spend on defense.
It would devastate the medical and pharmaceutical industry.
Take out entitlements and those with interests in food and drugs, Republicans, Conservatives and Democrats alike would suffer punishing financial losses.
Without the combined $1.5 trillion these entitlements put into the market each year, the American economy would be pummeled.
Entitlements are a double-edged sword. On the cutting edge, Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid and CHIP entitlements consume more than 40 percent of our national budget. On the slicing edge, they underpin our food and drug industry and keep people alive.
It’s not just those who are on entitlements that benefit. It’s those who take their money too. Go figure.
It’s misleading to call Social Security and Medicare “entitlements”. We (you and I) paid for them. Cutting those “entitlements” is a bit like theft.
Thanks for your comment, Jim. We (you and me and every working person in this country) pays 7.5% of our wages into Social Security. Employers pay the other 7.5%. Self employed pay the entire 15% of social security. We also paid into medicare all those years. I paid into Social Security since I was 15. That’s 50 years I worked for my retirement. That’s our money, simply held in trust for us to have when we retire. It is not an entitlement! It’s not a tad bit like theft. It is theft!
Why aren’t we examining the 535 “entitlement” packages given to our publicly elected officials in Washington, DC. Where is the “means’ testing?”
Thank goodness for some common sense reasoning in this ‘entitlement’ argument from all of you. I think the majority of the public saw the issue clearly during the last election. The rest who didn’t and especially those who collect Social Security and Medicare obviously are not thinking clearly; they are being duped by people out for themselves.
If we’re talking about entitlements, why not change the meaning of corporate subsidies to entitlements instead vs stuff we actually pay something for. Remember the definitions were changed in the 1980s under Reagan because conservatives ultimately do not want any social programs and constantly look for ways to undercut them. But they sure love their corporate entitlements!
Yes, we’ll have to increase spending and find money as more baby boomers retire. How means testing and Romney et all paying at least 20% or more over all income taxes and unable to hide money off-shore from taxes. After all the security offered by decent roads, good mail services, and generally a secure environment are something we all pay for and benefit businesses. Democracy requires that we understand we are all in this together vs watching a goodly portion suffer (or camp outside our doorstep). As Tommy suggests lots of money will not flow to businesses if people do not have it.
Because of our lack of infrastructure spending over the last 30 years we have become in some respects a 3rd world country. Think of the private firefighters (California); gated communities and private security guards for wealthy estates; the wealthy installing generators for power outages. Ultimately however, the wealthy cannot escape environmental pollution, lack of power or water sources or revolution at their doorstep if they allow too many to feel they have nothing to lose.
Our governments and their “lap dog” media have been “educating” us to consider all payments to individuals as “entitlements.” Maybe Social Security and Medicare were not appropriate, but they were actually meant to be paid for by the people who get the benefits. On the other hand, “entitlements” are paid by the productive to the non-productive. Get it?