Does “entitlement,” as a type of government program, have a pejorative connotation? If so, what’s to be done about it? Published by Jane the Actuary View all posts by Jane the Actuary
41 thoughts on “Forbes post, “Yes, Social Security Is An ‘Entitlement'””
Your article seems to make twists and turns. At one point you make it seem like social security is grouped with the same “entitlements” as welfare but then it seems to change course. Journalism is all about spin now and even the spin is not clear.
Would going to your bank and taking out all your money be considered an “entitlement”…in a way I guess, I AM entitled to it. Not everyone has paid into social security and some cannot draw it. Now disability and supplemental security is different.
Welfare has rules and standards and not everyone is entitled to it.
Either way it is clear the republicans are trying to put a spin on the term as you seem to have indicated. But if the trump base is so stupid to not understand how it works or that they are being manipulated, it is their stupidity and ignorance. 70% of America has a brain and will fight for our sic. Sec. also just a side note no one mentions that you CANNOT opt out of paying social security. So allowing the corrupt and racist republicans to be able to touch my $ would infuraiate me and thousands/millions of Americans!!
They already have (1 democrat and 2 republican presidents), to the tune of just <$3BILLION. They call it a loan. Which begs the question, "Am I entitled to some interest with my next SS check?"
Sorry, brain dead from reading all day. that’s trillion. 𝗧𝗥𝗜𝗟𝗟𝗜𝗢N!!!
Well you lost me when you didn’t include the Democrats in the corrupt group and showed your bigotry by calling republicans racist. There’s a little bit of racism in every person but being republican/ democratic is an ideology and neither one has anything to do with racism
Government should have never been involved in the first place. All the money each person has paid into the system minus and withdrawals to date should be immediately returned to the people. Then the whole scam would be seen for what it really is, robbing one person to pay another. Therr is no trust fund, congress already spent it, so yes they wilp need to print more to pat people back, but so be it. They already printed 4 trillion to save the banks (quantitative easing) so they should print more to give back what they stole.
You really need to get past your hate. You put all Rep and/or Trump supporters in the same group. How can a person such as yourself claim to be open minded or inclusive if you hate others just because they don’t embrace your political views. It seems shallow to me. I can’t imagine hating anyone for being dumb enough to vote for Obama or Bush not seeing that they were one in thre same. Or entitled enough to vote for Bernie or Warren At the end of the day politics is nothing but the illusion of choice through theater and Trump and all the others are merely players. It’s choreographed fakeism designed to seem real, just like pro wrestling. Some of its creal, but for the most part its fiction and the participant characters are just playing a part.
But the people in your life are real. Why miss an opportunity of knowing them just because they don’t think the exact same way you do? Is your ignorance and thirst for hate so strong and reflexive that you automatically hate someone that puts their eggs in a different basket than you do? If so you’re doing exactly what the powers in D.C. are hoping you’ll do. Their strategy is obviously “Divide & Conquer”. Do you really think anyone in Washington truly cares about your well being? It’s just 💸 cash grab game for them, and the more they keep us divided, the more 💸cash they can grab. They dont care about you or us. Remember:
“It’s easier to fool people, than to convince them they’ve been fooled”
well put.spin it anyway they want.for 40 yrs each paycheck withheld ssi from my gross pay.i also worked for railroad and my check comes from railroad retirement board and whatever i paid into ssi i cant get a penny cause i had choose between rrrb or ssi.i paid into both but cant draw from both.
I work all my life and payed into FICA, please do not say that I’m not entitled to my social security and Medicare, no matter what you call it. I agree it should not be called a entitlement, although we, who have worked and payed into it are entitled to it.
It’s not a entitlement program you
Work and pay money to put in the program or you keep the money
And get nothing from social security.
The politicians just want to get their hands on that lucrative cash.
This is nothing but think-tank deception of the highest order. You must know damn well that the Republican plan has been to dismantle and decimate social programs forever. They MEAN the word as something that is NOT DESERVED BUT GIVEN
The anger this brings up in me is massive. Please study SEMANTICS -which Hayakawa wrote about. Oh sorry, he is s Democrat.
Both sides have mixed it all together so that it is an entitlement that you don’t deserve. But yes you deserve it at the same time. Calling it, or not calling it an entitlement is nothing but a shell game. As posted by others if you work you have no option to opt out, so you pay into the system your whole working life weather you want to or not with your pay off being you’ll live long enough to draw from it after you quit working. So if you paid into the system for any substantial amount of time, then “yes” it’s an entitlement you deservet. But at the same time if you’re an 18 year old kid that’s had nothing but part time fast food jobs for maybe 6 months to a year and not really contributing to the system let alone society and then one day you decide you’re gonna game the system just because your too lazy to accept your lot, and feel too special to have to work hard for what you want because the ladder of life “is too hard” to climb, so fake twisting your ankle and cry “fowl” and then claim you’re disabled and milk it the rest of your life, so you can get paid to smoke pot and play video games and produce more worthless babies. Then “Yes” it’s an entitlement you deserve, but only if you feel entitled.
why is it “very difficult to modify”?…eliminate the cap, (most of the) problem solved (like you say what the bank robber says “it’s where the money is”)…I think you understand what most people hear when they hear “entitlement” is not what you hear (or, in fact, what it seems to mean), so I would hope any politicians discussing the issue either not use the word, or clearly explain each time it’s used what exactly is meant by it…I think you understand, as well, that most Republicans seem intent on destroying SS and other social programs, rather than increasing tax rates to more historical levels (you know, back in the “again” part of “make America great again”…
As a part of your dealing with the issue of retirement; look at the bigger picture of how the 1% gamed the rules of capitalism to manage the sequence of “failures” followed by reorganized ownership to steal the US economy – using voice-based human manipulation [yes: that’s a real thing]. See GE being digested now.
As America has been and is being progressively stripped of its assets over the last 30+ years – look then at the impact on retirement. Then – look at the trajectory for your progeny. Then, give me your opinion – privately and/or publicly.
Various Republicans over the years have talked about Entitlements like Social Security as unearned entitlements, government giveaways, and an unfair burden on taxpayers. They specifically suggested various alternatives that amount to “invest in the stock market to take care yourself so we don’t have to”. Liberals think they understand Republicans to mean that because many Republicans have clearly talked about entitlements in that way. Present and past Republicans are to blame for muddling all of this much more than liberals who are sensitive to attacks on it.
Social Security is not an entitlement, it’s the purest form of socialism in the U.S. The government decides how much to tax and who to give it to…the definition of socialism.
I will never come close to receiving the amount of money my employer and I paid I to the system.
You will if you live past your initial payout. SS was created at a time when the average life span was 65. Now we are talking about people living into their 90’s, so yes, unless your health is bad, you will probably get more back than you and your employer put in.
It depends on what a person does for a living some jobs have a lower life expectancy than others
Maybe, but only if you just put thr money in a sock drawer. But no way if you invested it wisely at a good interest rate for 30 years and were never able to touch it.
the fact of having a right to something.
By its definition, are you saying the government should take something away from me that 𝗜 𝗵𝗮𝘃𝗲 𝗮 𝗿𝗶𝗴𝗵𝘁 𝘁𝗼? Let me guess, Jane the a̶c̶t̶u̶a̶r̶y republican?
Apparently you did not read the article. She was putting down the republican party which means more than likely a democrat. SS is not an entitlement if you or any one believes it is then so if any tax refund. Both are paid with taxes and if pay into the system more than what should have people get the money back. I can see why people think it as an entitlement though. Ex (I make 20000 a year so put in about 3000 a year for 40 yrs. When I retire will get or entitled to $450 a month) This may not be exact but is just an examples. So I think when people say entitlement they mean they are entitled for a certain amount of money.
Yes, the US is at high risk to have a highly underfunded mandate (Social Security Entitlement Checks, if it pleases you) turn into a giant fiscal rocky gorge in less than 30 years. More people will be requesting a check than the time/pay/FICA they have paid into it with all inflation considered. Once again….”ENRON-like” failures will repeat in less than five years for those with private retirement, due to failure to enforce or pass reform. Social security was intended to be a safety net before hitting that rock bottom. Cut the net and you will have a multi-million elderly homeless problem!
Intelligently written article!
Yes intelligently written but totally bogus and partisan
Yes it is not an entitlement .
Ss could have been invested in equities for the 20 yr bull market , BUT then politicians theft would have been too obvious
Employees and employers must pay the government FICA taxes of 15.3, which is split so each pay half. So you are entitled to receive benefits from your own labors. Amounts you receive are based on your contributions and age at retirement. Medicare eligibility age is 65. Although it still is not free.
The word games start when people who do not pay into the system, work the required years and receive the same so called entitlement benefits.
I have seen many first time employees ask: who is FICA and why is he entitled to my money.
If you don’t pay in to Social Security, you don’t get any SS when you are of age to retire. Ask a teacher on the pension system if they pay into SS or expect to get anything back. Nobody gets the “entitlement” who didn’t pay into it, which is why it is not an entitlement in the Republican sense.
all retirement programs, federal and local, are now “entitlements” in the conversational sense of that word, not just your technical definition. We all knew our goverments have been spending and promising too much, and so none of them are earned anymore. The earned part was spent on the world’s biggest military… and many other programs etc. no one is receiving any “earned” pensions or benefits anymore…. they are promises that were spent on all kinds of things, and they are not the only unaccrued liability we will face soon enough.
You are an IDIOT ! An entitlement is essentially money for nothing tax money used to fund programs designed to help the under-privileged or disenfranchised. Social Security is neither social or secure. People like me have paid in FAR more than I will ever get out of this system. To add insult to injury Congress has used it as their private slush fund to the point it will collapse at some point in the future.
I didn’t read the other replies, so I apologize if I’m being redundant, but Republicans tend to use it as a perjorative to “sell” to their constituencies that it’s not something people deserve. They use the anecdotal definition.
I’m not sure why everyone is so upset about this article as it isn’t clear to me whether what many think you are saying is in fact what what you are actually saying. As a veteran on disability, I cringe every time I hear people going on about entitlements as if I’m a lazy good-for-nothing. Many of those same people would never lump me in with them, but that’s flawed thinking. It makes me feel like scum hated by the country for which I gave up a better life.
The GOP, and yourself, purposely use the word and your supporting arguments to make it sound as though people are getting what they don’t deserve. As has been pointed out above, the dictionary definition indicates people “deserve” an entitlement. If people deserve it, why does the GOP keep trying to take it away? B/c the super rich and companies want to keep the poor, poor and have control over everyone that is dependent on a job. The citizenry are already burdened with greater than 2/3 (66%) of federal tax revenues and companies are not forced to provide for retirement (many have reneged on their pension plans too). The reality is SS should be paying each person MORE not less. We need a positive immigaration policy and reduced military spending to make this happen. 15% on our military is ridiculous when no other country tops 3% of GDP.
Jane, it is even shocking you would call yourself a “nerd” having read this liberal fantasy you’ve concocted. SSI is an “entitlement” because it shares one aspect of entitlements is like calling cancer a helpful cell because it feeds and replicates itself. Why don’t you mention, for example, that a person’s benefit is based upon how much they earned and therefore how much they paid into the plan? Explain, if you will, how those on food stamps are exactly like those on SSI? Were they forced to pay in? Were they promised a return on the “insurance” they purchased? Does their benefit vary based upon how much they paid in? Did they pay in at all? Liberals are famous for changing the words to make something sound like something it is not. Just admit this is part of the plan so that, in the not too distant future, youth will have been indoctrinated to one more issue, in the selfishness that has been nurtured from kindergarten up will begin to think denying SSI is good for them just like free college and socialism, and the government then in complete control, can make fundamental changes meant only to fund even more indoctrination while providing more funds from which to steal.
Medicaid is an entitlement -free for those who have never worked a day in their lives and they get full coverage!
SSI for people under the age of 62 years old is an entitlement-free even if you never worked a day in your life !
Welfare is an entitlement – free even if you never worked a day in your life !
Snap is an entitlement -free even if you never worked a day in your life!
Social Security – not free is for people the age of 62 years of age or older who have “worked” hard and had a portion of their paychecks “taken” from the government as a kind of savings and supplement for their retirement !
Medicare is not free – for seniors age 65 and older, monies for Medicare are deducted from the monthly Social Security allotment which does not cover 100% of your medical cost like Medicaid does ! Also you do not recieve any monies toward dental or vision expenses the way free Medicaid does!
So which of these would you consider entitlements? I think I know!!!
Lets get this straight. The government takes 5% from our checks for this “Entitlement.” Therefor, this “Entitlement” will ALWAYS be made available to those that paid into it, or they will pay the money back… PERIOD. If they do not, they they are a tyranny and will be treated as such.
Just came across this article. Wanted to let you know that I totally relate to what you’re saying. I am almost losing friends over this issue because of their passionate dislike for the word ‘entitlement ‘. Frankly, can’t understand what I’m missing? Well, I guess they’re entitled to their opinion.
Social Security is not an entitlement if you or any one believes it is then so if any tax refund. Both are paid with taxes and if pay into the system more than what should have people get the money back. I can see why people think it as an entitlement though. Ex (I make 20000 a year so put in about 3000 a year for 40 yrs. When I retire will get or entitled to $450 a month) This may not be exact but is just an examples. So I think when people say entitlement they mean they are entitled for a certain amount of money. I am also entitled to a tax refund if I pay to much in taxes. See how the word and concept works.
To the author (I believe Elizabeth Bauer) of “Yes, Social Security Is An ‘Entitlement'”
Yes , I must object in the strongest possible way , as per the way the term “entitlement” is most commonly used today , social security is by NO MEANS an “entitlement”
In terms of the strictest technical definition of “entitlement” , you might be correct , social security might be termed “entitlement” in the same way that my company pension is an “entitlement” or that my tax-deferred IRAs are an “entitlement”.
But we all know , that is not even close to what the term “entitlement” has come to mean today
The leftists in the ruling class have told us my entire 40 year career that , this is a precise quote , “social security is not a tax , but a mandatory pension program for non government wage earners”
No one attempting honest well-intended communication would ever call my pension program through my employer (I was one of Honeywell’s Chief Engineering Fellows in technology development) an “entitlement” , because it carries with it the connotation that it’s some sort of handout rather than an earned benefit
Similarly , even if by some technically strict definition , social security could be called an “entitlement” , that term now carries with it the connotation that it wasn’t worked for and earned , and that is hyper destructive
The government does indeed owe us all the money we and our employers paid into their mandatory pension program social security and medicare. Again , countless times politicians have insisted we must not call this a tax (which , because of maximum withholding , disproportionately affects lower income people).
We’re not doing anyone any favors (except our often dishonest ruling class) by now terming the government’s “not a tax” mandatory pension program an “entitlement” as if THEY’RE doing US some sort of generous favor
If the government can countless times insist social security is “not a tax” , then when we receive the benefit , it must not be termed an “entitlement”
You’re right. Social Security and Medicare ARE entitlements because recipients who paid into the OASDI by it being a required tax taken from their paychecks — some who’ll never receive a penny of it back and others who will receive more due to inflationary adjustments — ARE entitled to it. Just because you’re an American citizen and filed an application doesn’t make you “entitled” to welfare, SNAP and SSI, though, so that’s where the mistake comes in by calling THOSE entitlements. Those are more like charity or fringe benefits. The recipients don’t even need to have worked a day in their lives to be considered “eligible” to receive them if they have NO income or they may have worked very little to be considered “eligible” for the rest of their lives. They just are NOT the same thing, no matter how many excuses you arrange in your argument.
The major thing that the federal government doesn’t tell taxpayers is that the federal government has been borrowing from the OASDI since at least Reagan, considering it a part of the general fund, which is what income taxes are paid into. FICA taxes are separate from income taxes, and that is why the OASDI fund was created, to keep them separate. The Republicans don’t even see them as separate any longer because they have borrowed from it for decades now as if it is theirs, but it is no one’s but the people’s who paid into it. It wasn’t meant to be relied on as a means to keep from defaulting on our national debt or to help pay for anything BUT the Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid and Disability benefits. The latter two are what add up to large sums that workers have not paid into for 30 years or more, and they could receive permanent disability after working only five years.
If you look at the balance sheet for the OASDI, you see what the federal government has borrowed and that they always add an equal (or the exact) amount as an asset to balance it to the penny with the liabilities. That means the OASDI has been losing interest on a portion of what is now over $2T, and the federal government isn’t paying one cent to borrow from a fund to which it has NO such entitlement. There have been months when the reimbursement has been less, though, due to their sale of Treasury bills bringing a lower rate than when the funds were borrowed. Tell me how it’s fair for the federal government to keep any profits when it sells to reimburse but allow the OASDI to absorb the loss when the sale brings in less. They’ve been stealing from the OASDI for decades, but they will never confess to that fact.
Sure, recipients receive inflation adjustments, but to claim that it’s the benefits alone that are eating away the OASDI funds is ludicrous. There are always more paying into the fund, and on higher wages, every year, as the population and working population has grown every year. The “baby boomer” excuse is lame, too, because those baby boomers all paid into the fund, too, and they all didn’t retire in the same year, because that era dates from 1946 through 1964, a span of 18 years. The millennials (1982-2000) are an even larger group of people and millions had already been paying into the OASDI fund for years before millions of the baby boomers even retired. It’s always an excuse, and the GOP know that they have the most gullible and least educated supporters who believe anything they say.
Get real! There’s a big difference in entitlements and charity, and citizenship and an application that results in eligibility is not equal to being ‘entitled’ to anything. Having the government take the money from your paychecks to add to the OASDI, though, whether or not you like it, most definitely makes those workers entitled to benefits once they retire. It does not make the government “entitled” to borrow from that OASDI fund to meet any of its obligations beyond Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid and Disability either.
When the GOP recognizes the big difference AND quits borrowing to meet it shortfalls — like ones caused by $2.1T in tax cuts that they always pass every single time they take the majorities and the WH — which negates the bottom line to pay for the other expenses, which raise every single year while the four entitlements just mentioned above do NOT necessarily always increase every single year, although the cutoff for FICA taxes raises every single year (now over 4x what it was 25 years ago at $160.2K for 2023). Both federal AND state taxes have a purpose — the military, interstate freeways and federal buildings are just a few examples for the federal, and the GOP spend heavily for the military even during decades of peace,, while they neglect the infrastructure for decades. The federal government also picks up most of the tabs for individual states’ natural disasters, and they supplement states’ income by as much as 56.43%, which is what Wyoming received in 2022, while Louisiana received 52.27% and Alaska received 50.83%. ALL of the top ten recipients were and always have been states with either Republican governors or Republican-majority legislatures, or both! The GOP says it wants to do away with federal taxes, but THEIR states are the most dependent on those federal tax dollars! The lowest percentage in the remainder of those top ten states was Idaho at 41.08%. Did you know that Alaska has neither a sales tax nor a state income tax, yet that BRIGHT RED state relies on nearly 51% of its funding from the FEDERAL government. Why aren’t the people who receive that charity, not entitlements, not paying taxes to prevent such dependence? It’s a complete joke for the GOP to say that they, the leaders of some of the poorest states in the country, to say they want to get rid of federal income taxes! That shows how little they care about their states’ residents and governments who rely so heavily on federal income taxes, and how much it’s truly just to continue widening the wealth gap! Wyoming doesn’t have a state income tax, and Montana doesn’t have a state sales tax. Montana received 46.58% of its funding from the federal government in 2022. Nine of those Top 10 were on the same list in 2021. Idaho replaced one in 2022. Of the 2022 Top 10, AL, ID, LA, MS and WY still have the $7.25/hr minimum wage after 14 years. (WV, also on the list, even though it’s one of the poorest states in the country, has at least raised its to $8.75 — still far too low, but it’s $1.50/hr more than states that are not so poor, like UT. Why is the federal government allowing these states that collect no taxes to rely on federal taxes when they could be collecting from their own residents instead of relying on the entire country? Twenty RED states, or 18 red and two purple with GOP governors &/or legislatures, have not raised their states’ minimum wage in the now 14 years since it was raised to what is now a paltry $7.25/hr because they know that federal law doesn’t require it, and the GOP Congress has encouraged it! That means far less FICA taxes are being collected because minimum-wage workers with a 40-hr paycheck make just $15,080/yr GROSS! That is a wage now proven to be less than a single person can live on. FDR intended the minimum wage to be a LIVING wage in his documentation, but the GOP denies it. There are people who have no choice but to work another, or even 2-3, P-T job(s) just to make a LIVING wage! The GOP if fully responsible for not only these 14 years of paltry FICA taxes being paid in by millions, but also for those other 4-, 6- or 10-yr spans between minimum wage increases. The Dems have passed bills since 2013 to get it raised, but the GOP has always used the filibuster or just had enough senators or reps to vote against it once it did reach the floor. That’s intentionally to allow their supporting corporations to make more in profits. The GOP passes only laws that members of ALEC write themselves, and they definitely don’t vote to pass any that will upset them and take another penny from their profits. If you don’t know what ALEC is, then do a search and learn something.
When these RED states quit relying so heavily on the federal government to supplement their intake in order to meet their expenses every single year, regardless of natural disasters, maybe the workers who actually pay state and some even local income taxes as well as state sales taxes will quit debating over the definition of “entitlements” because a lot of the money they’re receiving is constantly being borrowed from the OASDI fund, for which it was NEVER intended when established.
Oh, and why is it that the federal government has never borrowed from the federal retirement funds to pay for these extras that are definitely NOT entitlements? Have they even been paying federal workers’ retirement benefits from those funds that still exist and some chose to stick with rather than the OASDI? We don’t get to see any statements or balance sheets on those, but of course we know why.