Why Do We Have To Call Them "Entitlements?"
We don't, of course. In fact, in most cases the term's usage in this meaning will not bear the "dictionary test."
The "dictionary test"
The "dictionary test"
Definition of ENTITLEMENT
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
The term has been adopted into the relentless GOPCon "talking points" menu in hopes of exploiting the rather bad taste left in the mouths -- at least in the collective social memory -- of modern American "colonials" sufficiently educated to find themselves actually able to reminisce about the "bad old days."
Those would be the "bad old days" prior to the American Revolution. In our American case, "entitlements" meant way too many highly aggressive, economic and societal "traditions" imposed by our colonial master, England.
The pre-revolutionary colonies found themselves not only bowing and genuflecting to these "entitled" Brits on the streets of American cities, but they also suffered under the suffocating corporate advantages bestowed in the same manner on British "enterprises." Hopefully, we have all heard the tale of the Boston Tea Party, even though the story has been conveniently "missed" by its latest usurpers.
However, this recent history must step aside for even more medieval events which have to do with this posting. How, exactly, did all those noble British Lords, Dukes, Earls and Barons become Lords, Dukes, Earls and Barons in the first place?
Here, we have to move directly to the "fun realm" of definitions, conveniently nuanced re-definitions and complete, "up is down" style re-definitions. The sheer frequency of the term's use on the commentaries of the "media fraud" would suggest that it held some sort of substantial importance. It, of course, doesn't.
Even the NewsHour's Senior Correspondent, Gwen Ifill, now has no difficulty whatsoever in referring to Social Security as an "entitlement."
Once we consider this specific question we are ready to investigate the radically altered view of the heavily exploited term, "entitlements," in our modern context, that is, the complete "up is down" re-definition which the otherwise, nicely legitimate word has suffered at the hands of FOX and the remainder of the slobbering media who has yet to so much as even "grace the door" of an on line dictionary.
That is, "even graced the door of an on line dictionary" before blindly assigning the word, "entitlement," to every little thing that the wing nut press, "psyche" managers have decided must be an "entitlement."
The Medieval Origin of the Idea of "Entitlement"
Just before the consolidating monarchy established the noble order, England was dominated by war lords. With the ascension of the kings, these local "bosses" settled for titles, that is, they settled for royal "entitlements." Of course, there was more than an interesting addition to a name involved. Provinces, farms, land, towns -- all were ceded as assets necessary to sustain the "entitled" in a manner of life considered comfortable and appropriate, or even, "ordained by God, Himself" in addition to the King.
Whatever other details are absent from this quick explanation, it was later on when the hard feelings in the colonies came into play. After generations of these noble "entitlements," the thing had become cast in concrete. Although there were no particularly convincing reasons for this two class system to be the "law of the land," it was.
|"When the 'un-entitled' get uppity." (image source)|
Over time the generational nobility became a little more gentrified, but there continued to be cases where raw power still had its day. In France, the names were different, but the system was far too similar. Even the religionists got into the fray with abbots and abbeys, Bishoprics and, of course, the Holy See.
After a few centuries had passed, the revolutions began. The new idea was that wealth was okay, but only when there was some semblance of having earned it. Naturally, the same crew, wishing for a return of the "good old days," pressed the "pedal to the metal" to reset the calendar. One idea was to simply call anything the oligarchs wished to denigrate an "entitlement," regardless of whether or not such a declaration actually made any sense, that is, any sense at all.
The education challenged hill billies loved it. Discovering this "love," the right wing "talking points" factories could also "not get enough of it." This is why those of us still brave enough to sample the corporate "media fraud" now and then hear the term effortlessly used to describe Social Security 6 times each hour.
What We're Being Told To Think
This re-imaging process is marked by the presence of a detectable goal. The Social Security system, under this onslaught, is to be re-framed into nothing more than a willy nilly, "hare brained," liberal scheme for wealth extraction from the General Fund. Under the "FDR liberals," this out-of-control policy "steals" from the rich and "gives" to the poor.
That is, the policy "steals" from the rich who have actually deserved to have this money all along and "gives" to the poor who have no right to it, at all, whatsoever, and so on. Worse, the greedy poor have become quite demanding that the policy continue to be followed, even after the hard working, long suffering rich have, so to speak, emptied the cash box.
Now, because the greedy poor have become so rapacious in their demands for Social Security funds -- and not because the rich have emptied the cash box -- the system is bankrupting the country. Even better, a nice block of very, very, serious, GOPCon "calculations" -- made with extra special, ultra modern "Ryan Mathematics" -- absolutely and inescapably "proves" this terrifying prediction to be absolutely and inescapably true.
At least to the illiterates in the GOPCon "political base."
Hence, just as the lands and privileges of a medieval noble family were an "entitlement," Social Security benefits being purloined from the pockets of the rich amount to exactly the same thing. The King may have flexed his muscle to establish the original system, but liberals, after no doubt "stealing" an election at some time in the past, flexed their muscles to begin this horrible things which, it turns out, also, somehow, goes against the Bible.
The rich, once again -- just as in the time before the revolution -- find themselves hamstrung by the outrageous fate of being crushed under the "jack boot" of a new, illegitimate nobility -- the old and the poor.
What We Need To Remember
First, MeanMesa cannot resist "throwing in" a clever analogy. Here, we can replace the Social Security system with a common auto insurance company.
All the customers of this insurance company purchase policies which will assist them if they have a wreck. Premiums are dutifully paid, month after month, and the insurance company's revenue flows into a fund which will be large enough to answer such responsibilities when there is a loss.
Then, one of these customers has a wreck. Pursuant to the contract governing the relationship between the premium paying customer and the loss compensating insurance company, he receives a nice check and gets his car fixed.
The GOPCon idea is somewhat different, however. In it, the insurance company executives spend all the premium money on important, "trickle down," tax breaks for their friends. When they are notified about their customer's car wreck, their answer is simple.
"It turns out that the claim for money you are expecting to receive from us isn't actually legitimate, after all. In fact, it is manifest of one of those very reasonably hated, medieval 'entitlements' we fought the Revolutionary War to eliminate. How dare you try to impose such an unfairness on us hard working insurance company executives?"
"Now, get out of our office. You're 'wealth extraction' scheme is a thing of the past. Oh, and by the way, keep paying your premiums. We know where you live."
This charade has, now, progressed to the point where the "talking points peddlers" are actually "reporting" what the Republicans "got" in terms of spending cuts as if it were some nightmarish, trailer park pick up game.
GOPCons such as "angry young lion," Ryan, believe, if they can scare the electorate enough with a phony mish mash of lies and "statistics," that we will sign off on another gigantic breach of contract almost the same size as the last one, that is, almost the same size as the autocrat's TARP snatch.
So, what must we remember?
The money in the Social Security Trust Fund, which, by the way, is not in trouble -- yet, belongs to us. There is no possible reason to hand it over to thugs such as Ryan because his cronies have emptied the cash drawer. It's not an "entitlement" at all. It is a contract.
We, of course, will have to "enforce" our contract in November of 2012.
MeanMesa's compliments to the President.