Morning Mix: One Word — Entitlements


It seems like such a bad word, “entitlements.” Why should anyone be “entitled” to anything? But Social Security, Medicaid, Medicare, they all guarantee one thing — that regardless of how poor you are, or your age, or your health status, you still at the very least deserve not to sicken and starve to death in the streets.

You would think that’s something everyone could agree on — we don’t want people dying in the streets.  But it’s not a given anymore.  And sadly, in this debt ceiling debate, that’s becoming more obvious.

According to Ezra Klein, there is the possibility for very minor tax increases on businesses, simply accounting gimmicks here and there.  But otherwise, the Republicans are demanding, and likely getting, spending cuts.  And those cuts are going to come from the social safety net, and likely now with Democratic approval.   The Obama Administration is now going to introduce its own version of Medicaid cuts, a plan likely to increase state costs by taking away federal dollars, and guaranteeing states already trying to cut aid will now reduce it even further.

Republican Senator Tom Coburn and Independent Senator Joe Lieberman are floating a plan to cut raise the age that a senior needs to be in order to get Medicare, and up the senior’s premiums, saying that will cut $600 billion from the deficit in the long run.  And Democrats Harry Reid and Dick Durbin are so busy arguing over every proposal that the party is unable to even present a unified front against the Republicans.  Still, Reid does have time to attack the GOP for living in a “fantasy land” if they think there is any way an agreement will be reached without raising any taxes, and accusing them of not caring at all about the middle class.

We have about one month before the country officially defaults on its debt. Republicans really don’t seem to care, Democrats don’t seem to have power, and the administration seems ready to give away everything the poor have left in order to help protect the rich.

Photo credit: Photo from wikimedia commons


Martha Eberle
Martha Eberle6 years ago

Philip S., People WERE dying in the streets and in old age homes, that were crude at best.

I am writing this long after the debt ceiling debate, but the word, "entitlements" caught my eye. I wish politicians would quit using that word, when it is a promise made by our government long ago, and to which workers have paid into, all their working lives. We showed faith in our government, and now our government needs to honor that promise for all who did their duty. And beyond that, what is the purpose of a government? To take care of its citizens, to do the big jobs (like road-building, dam-building, bridge-building, public education) that individuals cannot do alone. This has been the American creed, that we look out for one another, as we act responsibly to do our jobs. America is not America without that creed.

Philip S.
Philip S6 years ago

Why does anyone believe this fear mongering? Before all these programs existed people were not dying in the streets.

Sound Mind
Ronald E6 years ago

john h, for the vast majority - those that worked for a living and contributed to the fund, SS is NOT an entitlement - it's a savings account. Survivor benefits might indeed be entitlements. Washington politicians also think THEY are entitled to your SS $$ so they can fund their pork barrels and lower the taxes on their rich campaign donors.

john hall
john hall6 years ago

Devon N. social sercurity is a entitlement for millions because when you recieve money when you havent put any in what would you call this .

William G.
William G6 years ago

Lets remember the ALL demoncrat congress ruled for two years and did not raise taxes, even the lame duckers refused to let the Bush cuts expire. But now it is all the republicans fault.

On May 12, the budget arm of Congress examined the changes in its baseline projections from 2001 through 2011. In 2001, it had predicted a surplus in 2011 of $889 billion. Instead, it expects a deficit of $1.4 trillion.”

So where did our titanic federal deficit come from? “CBO's data show that by far the biggest change in its deficit forecast is the spending bonanza, with outlays in 2011 that are $1.135 trillion higher than the budget office estimated a decade ago. One-third of that is higher interest payments on the national debt, notwithstanding record low interest rates. But $523 billion is due to domestic spending increases, including defense, education, Medicaid and the Obama stimulus. Mr. Bush's Medicare drug plan accounts for $53 billion of this unanticipated spending in 2011.”

William G.
William G6 years ago

There is one tax cut that actually did reduce federal revenue significantly: Obama’s vaunted payroll tax cut, which will cut $196 billion from Uncle Sam’s take this year. Of course, it did not stimulate employment at all. The doom of Keynesianism lies in its refusal to understand that short-term stimulus does not promote greater interest in making long-term commitments. Only a growing private sector economy will lead business owners to
increase employment commitments that ideally last for years, after months of training, and the relatively low initial productivity of most new employees.

Virtually every action of the Obama Administration, from increasing the burden cost of labor to wiping out and nationalizing industries, has made the private sector smaller. This, in turn, reduces the amount of revenue the government can extract from a dwindling economy. Increase tax rates, and the economy will shrink faster, giving the government a larger piece of a rotting pie. No Democrat should be allowed to babble about tax increases without facing the demonstrable fact of the economic black hole they have created.

Lori Ann H.
Lori Hone6 years ago

Recall all republicans!

Grace Adams
Grace Adams6 years ago

We really need to make the transition from fossil fuel to renewable energy in order to get the economy moving again.

Linda T.
Linda T6 years ago

This is very bad news indeed. Maybe people will think before they vote in the next elections. Never known an american that likes black mailers. I agree with everything you say Glenn,

Siusaidh C.
Susan C6 years ago

Since c1970, downhill all the way - age of greed, triumph of finance, US decline: