What Are Entitlements?

 

Trying to Cut Through The Fog!

  return

 

    One of the hot political topics is "entitlements."  But what are they?  Who are they?  How much validity is there for entitling certain groups with special considerations?  Do unwarranted entitlements drive a wedge between Americans?  Judge for yourself!

Here is the definition of "Entitlements" from Merriam-Webster:

1 a : the state or condition of being entitled
   b
: a right to benefits specified especially by law or contract
2  : a government program providing benefits to members of a specified group; also: funds supporting or distributed by such a program
3 : belief that one is deserving of or entitled to certain privileges

Social Security:  Millions of people have paid into this trust fund with certain expressed conditions and returns.  Social Security contributions now equal about 40% of the Federal revenues.  What is seldom mentioned is the fact that Social Security is the largest holder of Federal debt- more than twice of China's holdings.  (Convenient Summary.)  These funds are as equally valid as any other debt issued by the Federal government. Also see SSA Is Not Broke!

Medicare:  Again millions of individuals have paid into this fund over the years.  As currently established, Part A (hospital coverage) is pre-paid by retirees.  Part B and Part D and Medigap are additional insurances that retirees can purchase through the government and/or private insurance.  Most political leadership acknowledge that this fund is significantly under funded.  The political rancor is over increasing the premiums or reducing benefits. 

Medicaid:  Now this program is a real mess and a discussion here would be complicated and beyond the scope of this page.

For details regarding Medicare and Medicaid, please see: Health & Human Services.

But Wait!  There's More! Consider the following.  Political correctness will be thrown out of the window here.  These are issues that really raise the anger levels.  These are issues of both entitlement by leadership and issues of "fairness" for the rank & file citizen.

  Politicians feel free to engage in "Insider Trading"  (See, Corrupted Congress!)
  Politicians feel free to pass laws that exempt themselves. Clarifying view.
  Congress feels free to pass unfunded mandates that pander to their constituency but burden local budgets. There are various attempts to address this situation. (Also See.)
  Congressional leadership feel entitled to sneak political agendas and power grabs into legislation away from the public eye. (See The Darker Side, #15 on our Main Menu.)
  Gigantic executive pay and bonuses continue even when their companies are declining. Inequities spur actions in the corporate arena.
   50% of Americans pay no income tax but expect government assistance.
  The top income persons pay lower overall taxes than the average citizen - except, of course, those who pay no taxes.
  The top 5% of tax payers pay over 58% of all income tax.  That represents about 24% of all Federal tax revenue including individuals, corporations, tariffs, etc..
   Law enforcement is entitled to open your emails and video your activities but it can be a crime to video police conducting public business in open public locations.
  Minority youth can attack white state fair attendees but not charged with hate crimes.
  Government leadership feels entitled to circumvent the Second Amendment (gun ownership) by entering into an international treaty banning individual ownership.
  The Federal Reserve feels it's okay to open the discount window (make low cost loans) to foreign banks that are under-capitalized. IE, bailing out Europe's financial morass.
  Unemployed and under-employed individuals with obsolete skills feel that their retraining is someone else's responsibility - often at the public expense.
  Consumers ran up excessive credit card balances and/or bought homes beyond their capacity to pay and then defaulted, walked away or declared bankruptcy sticking the rest of us to pick up the losses.  Losses may have peaked but we have all lost values in our homes and higher bank fees, etc.
  Some individuals and groups feel that it is alright to force their own religious values on others whether Christian or Muslim or agnostic, etc.  What ever happened to "Live and let live"?
  Foreign nationals are entitled to enter the United States illegally, receive government assistance and health care even better than new baby care than is provided to our military families.  Courts and political leadership feel entitled to prevent individual States from enforcing existing immigration laws and/or questioning legal residency of suspect persons.
  Banks make stupid loans and then expect to be bailed out and also charge customers for their losses.  (Monthly bank fees to use your debit card, tarp, etc.)
  Bankers, lawyers, doctors, stock brokers and the like no longer feel required to follow fiduciary responsibilities to their clients. Congress even deleted "fiduciary responsibility" from banking reform legislation during the last year.  How cool is that?

Obviously, this list can continue ad nauseam. But what this means to all citizens is that we need to examine whether we choose to buy into these "entitlements" promoted by those who wish to pursue political power over others.  Some entitlements are legitimate.  Others, not so much!

These political and social issues are trotted out by both politicians and political activists every time they want to appeal to some constituency or voter group.  Alarmist emails flood our inboxes with dire warnings and half-truths and outright lies. There is seldom a clear explanation or rational discussion.

Bottom Line -  beneath all the verbiage there are significant, ignored facts and considerations that we need to be aware of.  And, this is what Fogcutters is all about.  Within these pages there is a lot of research and links for those seeking to understand the present political currents that can either lead us to a greater future OR can drag down an unwary nation.

Fogcutters.net Finding Where Truth Hides

main

Copyright 2011, 2012 H&H Associates.  All rights reserved.       

 

 Searching for facts avoided by politicians and activists!

**************

Have Powerful players (political contributors) caused higher gasoline prices for America? 

Sen, Bernie Sanders (I) Vermont, a self described  "democratic socialist," argues that a powerful group of speculators are costing Americans. Controversial to say the least! Regardless, watch his interview on CNBC
This issue is tied into the OWS protests who are supported by Sanders.