What Are Entitlements ?
We hear that "Entitlements" word thrown around a lot especially by the GOP that claims they are evil and must be cut. So what are these evil entitlements ?
An entitlement is a guarantee of access to benefits based on established rights or by legislation. A "right" is itself an entitlement associated with a moral or social principle, such that an "entitlement" is a provision made in accordance with legal framework of a society. Typically, entitlements are laws based on concepts of principle ("rights") which are themselves based in concepts of social equality or enfranchisement.
In a casual sense, the term "entitlement" refers to a notion or belief that one (or oneself) is deserving of some particular reward or benefit —if given without deeper legal or principled cause, the term is often given with pejorative connotation (e.g. a "sense of entitlement").
Government Entitlement ProgramsCombined Federal, State and Local Welfare Budget, 1992 (millions)
Food Stamps 24,918
Supplemental Security Income 22,774
Lower income housing asst. 12,307
Earned Income Tax Credit 9,553
Veterans medical care 7,838
Stafford loans 5,683
Social Services (Title 20) 5,419
Pell Grants 5,374
Low-rent public housing 5,008
General medical assistance 4,850
Foster Care 4,170
School Lunch 3,895
Pensions for needy veterans 3,667
General Assistance 3,340
Head Start 2,753
Food supplements, Women, infants and children 2,600
Training for disadvantaged youth and adults 1,744
Low-income energy assistance 1,594
Rural housing loans 1,468
Indian Health Services 1,431
Summer youth employment 1,183
Maternal and child health 1,059
JOBS and WIN 1,010
Job Corps 955
Child care block grant 825
School Breakfast 782
Child care for AFDC 755
Nutrition Program for Elderly 659
Housing interest reduction 652
Child and adult care food program 624
"At risk" child care 604
Source: Library of Congress, Congressional Research Service, "Cash
and Noncash Benefits for Persons with Limited Income: Eligibility Rules,
Recipient and Expenditure Data, FY 1990-92," Report 93-832 EPW and earlier reports.
Of course, there are many entitlement programs that are not necessarily for persons with limited income, including Medicare and Veterans Benefits, that add up to more dollars than this.
So the question is are these Entitlement programs the big evil the GOP says it is and should they be cut ?
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