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Entitlements – what’s in it for us?


Government entitlement programs whether they provide goods or services, are provided to a large number of potential beneficiaries whenever they meet eligibility requirements that are specified by the law.

The beneficiaries of entitlement programs are normally individual citizens or residents, but sometimes organizations such as business corporations, local governments, or even political parties that may have similar special “entitlements” under certain programs.

Beneficiaries almost always have the legal right – enforceable in court, if necessary – whenever they meet eligibility conditions that are specified by the law that authorizes the program.

The most important examples of entitlement programs at the federal level would include Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid, most Veterans’ Administration programs, federal employee and military retirement plans, unemployment compensation, and food stamps. State level programs would include healthcare, Aid to Dependent Children (ADC) and food subsidies.

Take Social Security benefits for example, not only did we contribute 15% of our income before taxes not to mention the contributions made by our employers, And the value of what we put into the program is more that enough hedge to live comfortably in our retirement age. Same way with Medicare and Medicaid, where we made contributions during our working years.

But the negativities associated with “Entitlements” are numerous, not to mention welfare doleouts, aid to illegal immigrants, benefits to the poor and the disenfranchised . Congress and the Senate are having a hard time appropriating budgets, as such it is often very hard to predict in advance just how many individuals will meet the various entitlement criteria during any given year, so it is therefore difficult to predict what the total costs to the government will be at the time the appropriation bills for the coming fiscal year are being drafted. The unemployment benefits for the jobless, for example, vary from month to month.

Since the middle 1980s, entitlement programs have accounted for more than half of all federal spending. Taken together with such other almost uncontrollable expenses such as interest payments on the national debt , entitlement programs leave Congress with no more than about 25% of the annual budget to be scrutinized for possible cutbacks through the regular appropriations process.

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