That is a word that has now come into common usage to describe certain budget items in both federal and state budgets. My brother just used the word to describe a government program. Most often it is ascribed to social security, welfare, unemployment compensation, food stamps, and federal Pell grants, Medicare, Medicaid and so on. I am not sure why these particular items have been picked out. My understanding of entitlements is perhaps a bit different. I believe that my age has something to do with my view.
What am I entitled to from anywhere? Am I an entitled person because my parents left me a great deal of money in their wills (not true, just an example). Am I entitled to something because my family descended from those who came here on the Mayflower? Am I entitled because there is royalty in my family line? Am I entitled because I have been very successful in life and have accumulated lots of money?
You see where I am going with this. I have always thought that “they are endowed by their creator with certain unalienable (read entitled) rights.” That was the Declaration of Independence. The Bill of Rights in the constitution enumerates those rights. That’s about the only entitlement, in my lexicon that I can think of. These other things are decisions of governments and are certainly not entitlements. Do oil company executives believe that their special exemptions are an entitlement? Do they believe it is something contained in the Bill of Rights? How about loopholes in the tax system that sometimes allow wealthy people not to pay taxes. Is that an entitlement?
The overwhelming number of us pays taxes of one sort or another. Because of our payment of these taxes are we entitled to more than our neighbor? Wouldn’t that be interesting? I hate to say this but one wealthy guy has already proposed more votes for people with lots of dough. Where do these entitled people come from?