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Entitlement? Yes, we're entitled
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WHO MADE "entitlement" a dirty word? When they talk about Social Security "entitlements," some misinformed or disingenuous pundits portray those who expect to draw full Social Security benefits at the end of their working lives as deadbeat panhandlers.
Get this part straight: It is an entitlement because seniors are entitled. It is a right. Workers made a bargain: You take a bunch of our (and our employers') money every week, and one day, when we're too old or sick or worn out to keep working, we'll get X amount of money--our money--back every month to keep a roof over our heads and save us from eating cat food in our dotage.
If I keel over at 66 and you make it to 95, you come out a little better, but we're all in it together. That's why we're a country and not a pack of survivalists living in fortified cabins with a 10-year supply of canned goods in the basement.
We all get forms every year from the Social Security Administration telling us what we theoretically will receive in retirement. The forms also tell us how much we've paid into it over our working lives. I estimate that my employers and I will have contributed close to a quarter-million dollars by the time
When the critics say there just isn't enough money anymore and blame it on people living longer, higher energy prices or the Great Recession, they're missing the point.
Why isn't there enough money? Because the federal government, the fox guarding the henhouse with our nest eggs inside, spent it. For a long time, the feds have been "borrowing" from what was a Social Security trust fund surplus. A lot less was paid out to retirees and others than was taken in.
As the federal deficit grew, it was easier to borrow from you and me than from a foreign power.
When we borrow from China and then turn our pockets inside out and say "Sorry," our credit rating tumbles and the whole economy goes with it. Ask Greece or (soon) Spain how that works out.
When we borrow from ourselves, it's all internal, and all you have are angry senior citizens, which is preferable to international default.