“Entitlement” Shouldn’t Be a Dirty Word

The Right likes to lump all social welfare programs together… and label them “entitlement programs.” The implication is that people feel entitled to giveaways.

Food stamps, Medicaid, welfare, Medicare, and Social Security. According to the Right, these entitlement programs are draining money needed for other important programs. So, it’s only fair that when America feels the pinch, those on entitlement programs should, too.

But – as so often is the case – the Right has misrepresented the situation. Here’s the truth they don’t want you to know…

Social Security Is Really a Government-Backed IRA

Most of today’s adults have been paying into the Social Security system their entire working lives. It’s a legal requirement for most of us. And if you’re self-employed, you’ve been paying double what others pay.

You’ve been setting aside money for your retirement. But, in this case, your “IRA” – your Individual Retirement Account – is with Uncle Sam. When you retire, Uncle Sam is supposed to pay you back for all those savings… with interest. Just like an IRA would.

This is a true entitlement program… because you are entitled to that money. That is, you earned it… you set it aside… and you should get it back when you retire. It’s not that you feel you should get something you didn’t earn. You have a right to that money. Because it’s yours.

Medicare is similar. You’ve been paying to fund your Medicare coverage for most – or all – of your adult life. You’ve been making regular payments against an insurance policy for your retirement years.

Medicare isn’t a government handout. It’s an insurance policy you bought and paid for during a career that probably spanned 45 years or more.

Social Security and Medicare are true entitlement programs. They aren’t a giveaway from a benevolent government. You’ve earned the right to collect by investing your hard-earned income in these programs.

But here’s where things go wrong.

Your Retirement Fund Has Become Congress’s Personal Piggy Bank

Members of Congress have a sweet deal. They earn an above-average income. They’re vested in their pension plan after just 5 years. And the average annual Congressional retirement benefit is over $60,000 a year. But it’s not Social Security.

Of course, since the system is rigged to favor incumbents, many members of Congress pad their pension payouts for decades. In 2014, CNN Money found 617 former members of Congress collecting pensions.

Meanwhile, what has Congress been doing with your retirement fund?

Using it to cover budget shortfalls. That’s right: Congress has been spending your retirement nest egg to make up for their inability to make tough budget decisions. And to curry favor to ensure re-election. (To earn bigger pensions for themselves.)

How else do you explain Alaska’s infamous “bridge to nowhere”? Or programs like the Osprey – an aircraft the military never wanted?

And – in their ultimate display of cynicism – the Right wants to cut the retirement benefits you’ve already paid for to make up for the tax breaks they’ve given to America’s wealthiest individuals.

Warren Buffet once pointed out he paid a lower effective tax rate than his secretary. Even though his earnings were in the billions. And that was before the crippling Trump tax cuts!

It’s All About the Racism… and Greed

Here’s a shocker: The beneficiaries of programs like Medicaid and food stamps are overwhelmingly white. More than twice as many white families get Medicaid benefits than black families… and they collect food stamps at a 50% higher rate than blacks, as well.

A report from NBC News suggests Trump isn’t able to wrap his head around this. After one proposed cut to welfare programs, a member of Congress told Trump the cuts would harm non-black constituents. His response? “Really? Then what are they?”

Forty years after the Reagan presidency, his “welfare queen” myth still persists on the Right.

Some Americans may have advanced since Reagan took office… But it seems pretty clear his racist ideology is alive and well on the Right today.

Congress ensured their own retirement while throwing away the average American’s savings. Then, the Right blamed it all on African Americans.

Now they’ve screwed you again by giving big tax breaks to the rich… while saying they need to cut the retirement benefits you’ve already paid for.

If that sounds obscene… it’s because it is. Enrich the already rich… and blame any pain on non-whites. This scenario has worked well for the Right for so long.

It’s why the wealth gap has grown to such ridiculous proportions. Congress has helped the rich grow richer at your expense… and then gone along with the story that it’s all because of racial minorities getting a few bucks to feed their kids.

The truth is… Rightists in Congress have won re-election by wasting your retirement fund on questionable projects. Then blaming a relatively small number of people of color for the financial shortfall that results.

Here’s the bottom line: You’ve earned your retirement by paying into it year after year… Any shortfalls are due to Congress using your retirement fund to pay for their own boondoggles… And blaming social welfare programs as a cover for Congress’ failure to act in your best interest.

Dock the Thieves; Not the Victims

Members of Congress stole your retirement fund… not members of some ethnic group. When CNN Money reviewed Congressional pensions in 2014, they found 617 former members were collecting an average of $60,250 a year.

Why should these clowns – who enjoyed perks and benefits throughout their time in Washington – live a lavish lifestyle at your expense? Especially when they stole your retirement to make up for their inability to make tough budget decisions.

Now these crooks expect you to make do with macaroni… while they enjoy filet mignon.

You earned your retirement benefits. You paid faithfully into a system that Congress systematically raped. It’s time for a reckoning.

Demand your rights – and your retirement. Don’t let the Right rob you again… to fund their own cushy retirement.

Let your representatives in Washington know: You’re sick of their B.S. You’ve invested in your retirement for decades. If anyone should pay a penalty, it should be those who stole your savings.

Find out how to contact your Representative and Senators at https://www.usa.gov/elected-officials. Then tell them how you really feel.

Because, if you don’t, you can kiss your retirement investment good-bye.