Lots of conservatives and neo-conservatives (moderates on all sides) keep talking about “Entitlement Reform” to try and reduce the deficit. First off, I don't see why during an economic crisis we have to try and reduce the deficit. Sure, slowing down the increase of the deficit would be a good thing (smarter spending practices and re-negotiating government contracts and such) but trying to reduce it could only be accomplished with a healthy economy – that is, without screwing over the hard-working 95% of the United States that have to live on every penny they make!
But that seems to be the order of the year. From what I have come to understand about “entitlements” in the context of politics happens to be Social Security, Welfare, Unemployment Insurance, Medicare, and every other social program designed to help ease the lives of Americans who either get a “raw deal” in life (health issues, loss of job/company, natural disasters, inflation, investment losses, etc.) or who just don't have the skills (or luck) necessary to become independently wealthy to weather everything that life can throw at them.
Of course, what conservatives call “reform” is really “repeal” - as in getting rid of all those “Liberal/socialist laws that are crippling our country and our freedom!” in their minds. They would like nothing more than to see the end of Social Security, Welfare, unemployment insurance and every other social program that everyone contributes to so that Americans won't wind up begging on the streets, homeless, pennyless, hungry and sick due to circumstances either beyond their control or from simply being in the wrong place at the wrong time – or one of the other thousand ways people can lose everything in our Capitalist society!
These programs came about from the events that happened during The Great Depression – when our country realized that our great capitalist system could be quite vulnerable and that given the proper conditions, can leave many of the populous with nothing of what they've worked all their lives for. The New Deal addressed these issues – one of them being social security: a fund for senior citizen Americans or those stricken down with illness or injury and are unable to work anymore so that they can live their lives in dignity with food, shelter and some basic “creature comforts” (like electricity, telephone service, heat, air conditioning, etc.) Welfare for those that are either unemployable or underemployed so they're not wandering the streets begging for money, food, shelter, etc.
And don't forget Medicare and Medicaid for those that are too poor to afford health insurance (Medicaid) or are on fixed incomes but have ever-mounting medical bills and medicines needed to stay alive (Medicare).
But as far as conservatives are concerned, these are all waste of taxpayers money – that the elimination of these programs would put more money in the pockets of Americans so that they can take care of themselves.
What a crock of sh*t!! The reason WHY these programs came about was because no matter how much money the average citizen makes or gets to take home, Capitalism is volatile enough that you can lose everything at any time! These “catch nets” programs allow citizens to feel safe knowing that when the chips are down, when they lose betting on capitalism, that there is a place they can fall back on!
Conservatives just want to get rid of them because they want things the way they were back in the 1920's and earlier – when the average citizen in America was the serves, “the peasants”, of the wealthy of America – social programs allow Americans to live without needing to beg the rich for help because... it's the law!
And conservatives (most vocal of them being in the top 1% holding 90% of the country's wealth) hate that!
Don't like social programs, want to call them “entitlements”? Well, entitle THIS muthafaquar!!