What is the Best Definition of Entitlements?

I’m in the process of “discussing” what the meaning of “entitlements” is. The person I am discussing this with thinks it simply is welfare. As I was explaining that it is Social Security, unemployment, veteran benefits, etc.,I got to wondering if there is some federal statute that actually uses the word, or if it is just political jargon. And does it even include welfare? I think the popular use of this word needs to be cleaned up.

This is a good place to start, maybe:

Thanks - I was on the wiki earlier. The wiki includes food stamps as one of the examples of entitlements, but it doesn’t mention welfare.

Interesting that the Republicans use the word “entitlements” in a pejorative sense, yet they are referring to benefits that usually have been “pre-paid”, so to speak, such as Social Security, unemployment. If we pay for something, aren’t we then entitled to receive it?

Oh I see! So in other words if a republican uses the word “entitlement” all of a sudden its pejorative and partisan? False equivalency much? Someone should have told you that moral relativism is not an argument that allows you to redefine a definition. Next time try not to rely on “Wiki” it discredits your argument altogether! I know cognitive dissonance sucks for people like you, but you should try getting out more!



uk /ɪnˈtaɪ.təl.mənt/ us /ɪnˈtaɪ.t̬əl.mənt/

[ C or U ] something that you have a right to do or have, or the right to do or have something:

pension/holiday entitlements

Managers have generous leave entitlement.

[ U ] disapproving the feeling that you have the right to do or have what you want without having to work for it or deserve it, just because of who you are:

a classic case of male entitlement

The meaning of entitlements is slippery, always seems to include Social Security and Medicare, others depend on the writer. In terms of the latest and greatest Republican offensive against the poor and needy, it can be any kind of transfer payment from the government to an individual.

The bigger the entitlements paid, the more the very rich will have to pay in taxes. Therefore, reducing entitlements is the best way to reduce taxes for plutocrats like Trump, the Koch Brothers, and the rest of the right wing elites.

And, yes, Social Security and Medicare are different, since Americans have prepaid for their benefits. Then the conservative pundits like David Brooks go on at length about how the benefits received far outweigh their contributions. Those calculations end up ambiguous because of the assumptions made, for inflation rate, for future benefits, for health care inflation, etc.

Thanks for bringing up the topic. I’m still mystified why this is always such a focus for the GOP.

A good example of what the Republicans consider removable “entitlements” can be found in the reduction of survivor’s benefits for widows (in most cases, women) of retired veterans who died of causes related to their service. In most cases the benefit was reduced to zero.

These benefits have been paid for by the the now-dead spouses, who opted for a 6.5% reduction in retirement benefits so that 55% of their pensions would continue to be paid in the event they died first.

Ever since the Vietnam War, Social Security has been lumped into the federal budget. At the time, it was an accounting violation necessary to pretend that the war wasn’t driving up the deficit. Now that deficit is blamed on Social Security.

In America all federal entitlements actually not within the legal framework of our Law but in defiance of it.

That the government levies a tax doesn’t make the related appropriations lawful, merely taxing doesn’t bestow any enumerated power to spend. People’s circumstances, wants, or even if they’ve been previously defrauded of their means to give illegitimate benefits to others are not amendments to the Constitution either.

Contrary to how the government operates “I Tax, therefore I can” is not constitutional.

To an educated person, an entitlement is something to which a person has a legal or granted right to receive or own.

To a freeloader, an entitlement is anything to which they think they have a right to receive or own.

The Income Tax was suppose to be temporary and therefore in of itself is illegal. It was created to help fund the Spanish American War during the Teddy Roosevelt Admin. Maybe that was what Yellow Journalism was for, as William Randolph Hurst was looking to sell newspapers so he started a war to which he created the impetus for unintended consequence “The Income Tax” only to be a victim of it in the end!

Today’s entitlements are nothing more than a redistribution of wealth .

In the USA “Entitlements” are benefits paid for by the government to/for anyone who meets the requirements. There are no cap on payments made. If the bill for “X” number of recipients is $100 trillion, that is what will be paid out.
Government pensions are all entitlements, politicians, verterans, teachers, FEMA, are all included.
Most welfare programs are entitlements, but TANF cash assistance is not. It is a block grant program. Block grants have a set amount of funds for a particular problem. When the approved money is spent, the Feds are done with it, regardless of how many are still standing in line.I
With block grants the states have lot of flexibility. With TANF sometimes most of it is cash to recipients, sometimes it is mostly for education, expenses related to employment, transpotation, clothing, whatever.
Welfare reform was a failure. All of the success claimed is smoke and mirrors.
The personal responsibility act was a major shift back to paternalistic social services.
AFDC was replaced by TANF in name only.
Actually it was replaced by SSI (federal cash welfare - not a art of social security, more free food - far beyond food stamps - more free housing and energy.
TANF is less than 10% of the welfare budget, and half of those have no work requirements, and no child support requirements.
Only five states require single parents to file for child support to get food stamps.

Twenty percent of all food stamp households have zero gross income, month after month. Not even welfare cash money. Not a penny, of any type. They get by just fine without it.

The retired veterans benefits were paid by the retirees 20 plus yrs of service. Definitely not a FREEBIE!!!
Social Security is a pay as you with present workers paying for those receiving SS today.
The Liberals have made many government programs (taxpayer paid of course)and entitlement to those that haven’t paid taxes to receive these benefits and have them spoiled and DEPENDENT upon them as a lifestyle. When these programs become bloated and cuts are necessary, Liberals have them riot in the streets.
You can’t take my GUVMENT CHEESE and FOOD STAMPS from me!!! Liberals only answer is to tax the HELL out of the wealthy people.

The problem with Social Security is that it was never intended to support someone into their mid 90’s. Back in those days people did not live much past 65, if they made it that far.

1 Like

The current definition is deeply flawed by intent to scare the hell out of everyone anytime “entitlement reform” is discussed.

Veterans benefits are an EARNED BENEFIT and should never be associated with Entitlements.

Very true and people due to advancements in medical/surgical tech, and pharmaceuticals are not only living much longer they do so at an exponentially higher cost than those who lived beyond 65 in decades past.

Extending life beyond it’s natural term is extremely expensive and grows ever more expensive every year.

We need to raise the eligibility age for MC/SS to probably 70-72 slowly over 10-15 years if we ever hope to get costs under control and at least double the MC/SS taxes.

Veteran benefits are also related to specific lawful service, and to employment. As an employer the federal has a lawful right to set wages and benefits for such service that is covered by the necessary and proper clause.

Where “entitlements” for the general population are covered by no delegated power given to Congress, no matter how necessary they may seem to be to those wanting them they are still not prop and are forbidden by the 10th Amendment. As I wrote earlier, collecting a tax does not legitimize an expense, and it in truth should matter not one jot that people have been previously defrauded of their means to provide illegitimate benefits to others while Congress pissed away the balance, they do not have the right to demand others be defrauded in turn so that they may get what they think they’ve paid into.

1 Like

When Social Security was implemented the average life expectancy was 61. Today it’s 80. If we were to take the same approach today SS would start at 85.

An entitlement would be that to which one is entitled by virtue of a promise made by another or one in which one has purchased the future receipt of something in return.
I am entitled to Social Security payments by virtue of the deductions from my paycheck into the system, the same for Medicare.
Veterans’ benefits are contractual promises made to the veteran by the Department of Defense.
No one paid into a permanent vacation insurance account to collect any type of welfare paid for by wage earners.

BTW, if one were to deposit the 13.85% (FICA 12.2% + 2.9%) of their average wages over their average working lifetime into a private retirement account paying average returns, they would own over $1,500,000. Withdrawing just the interest on that account would be more than Social Security payments and could be bequeathed after death (after taxes).

The big question is IF.