Entitlements and Benefits
Originally the term “entitlement” meant an individual was the recipient of a government benefit because the person had been paying into the system. Such entitlement programs included Social Security and Medicare. In more recent years this has become clouded and other benefits started to be included in the definition even though there recipient had not paid into the system, such as Food Stamps. Also, some programs are also considered entitlements by virtue of the person “paying” into the system by “in-kind” contributions, such as Veterans Benefits where the person “paid into the system”, by service in the United States Military. People’s action are predictable based on the incentives that are available to them. Make it easy for people to qualify for food stamps and more people will enroll to get food stamps – and they will not be as motivated to find a job or look for a better job. Give a person unemployment for a long time and the person will have an incentive to stay on unemployment and all too often, only finds a job about the time the unemployment runs out. Are we a caring nation? YES, we are. But, there are consequences for every action and every program; and often the “candy” incentive is not a productive approach to improving our economy and creating more jobs. I hear the argument that most of the entitlement benefit dollars are to assist the elderly, the seriously disabled, or to members of working households. Frankly, I don't know. One thing I do know is that the only spenders of food stamps I encounter are young people in the grocery store.