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Thursday, March 7, 2013
Economist's View: Mark Thomas: "War on Entitlements: What Americans are Entitled to
The word entitlements is use to describe Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid, as well as Unemployment Insurance. When as Progressive columnist Jonathan Alter pointed out in Monday in his column, that these programs are really social insurances. That people collect when they need them, just because we pay into Unemployment Insurance, doesn't mean we'll ever see a dime directly from it. To use as an example and hopefully we would never have to, Medicaid would be another example of that even though it doesn't have a direct revenue source to fund it. But we all pay for it through taxes even if we are never covered by it. Social insurance is exactly that its insurance that people collect when they need it, which is how Social Security should be looked at as well. I would allow all Americans at any age level who pay into Medicare to be able to use Medicare as their main health insurer. I was for a public option as part of healthcare reform in 2009-10 that wasn't part of the final 2010 Affordable Care Act. But even then its not an entitlement because under that plan non senior citizens who collect from Medicare would still have to pay into it. Like they would pay premiums for other health insurance. But that doesn't mean we are entitled to Medicare, we still have to pay for it, we don't have a Constitutional right for Medicare.
Obviously there are different views to what Americans are entitled to in America. There's a Liberal view which is what I share as a Liberal, there's a Progressive or Social-Democratic view to what Americans are entitled to. There's a Conservative or Conservative or Conservative-Libertarian view of what Americans are entitled to. And of course there's a classical Libertarian view to what Americans are entitled to as well. The view I believe in is that Americans are entitled to live in freedom and that its the job of government to protect our freedom so we don't lose it. Allow for us to be able to live our own lives as we see fit, to be able to chart our own course in life as long as we aren't. Hurting anyone innocent people with what we are doing and for Americans who don't live in freedom who don't have the. Same economic and social freedom that other Americans have. Its the job of government to empower those people to get the same freedom as the rest of the country has. That Americans are entitled to freedom and an opportunity to live well in life but at the end of the way we live our lives based on what we do with them. That nothing is given to us other then a good opportunity to be successful in life.
The Progressive or Social-Democratic view to what Americans are entitled to is to live in security and to be protected. Not just as it relates to physical protection but economic protection as well, that all Americans are entitled to health insurance. A good pension, that we are entitled to make a good living, that anyone who works shouldn't have to live in poverty and so fourth. No matter what their skills set is and so fourth, that we are all entitled to live well no matter what we do with our lives and what our skills are and what we produce for society. Which is one reason why Progressives tend to be reluctant to means test programs like Medicare and Social Security because they believe all Americans are entitled to those programs. And thats the big Democratic divide on the left in the Democratic Party what are Americans entitled to in a Democracy.