Government

Yes, Social Security is an entitlement and so is Medicare 

Somehow many people think “entitlement is a dirty word, it’s not. It simply means the law guarantees you certain benefits. However, that does not mean you have fully paid for those benefits, because you haven’t. You have contributed to the pool of funds helping to make those benefits available and so have all other working Americans. Your benefits are not in direct proportion to what you paid in taxes, the overwhelming majority of people get back far more than they have actually paid.

There are winners and losers. Married individuals get a much better deal than single retirees. Divorced retirees can have their benefits paid several times over. There are those who receive substantial benefits having paid no taxes and those who pay all their life while survivors collect $255.

It’s not a pension plan, it’s social insurance, sort of. FDR insisted on the dedicated payroll tax so workers had a stake in the program and it would be more difficult for politicians  to take it away. Unfortunately, the opposite happened and workers see a dollar for dollar payback and politicians have improved the program while ignoring adequate funding.

Definition of entitlement. 1a : the state or condition of being entitled : right b : a right to benefits specified especially by law or contract. 2 : a government program providing benefits to members of a specified group; also : funds supporting or distributed by such a program.

Medicare is only and insufficiently funded by workers. Part A has a trust that must be funded by payroll taxes. Part B has a trust that is always funded by premiums and general tax revenue. Income taxes paid on the Social Security of  higher income beneficiaries also funds Medicare. And clearly, what an individual pays in taxes no way relates to the unlimited benefits available. Those taxes can be wiped out with one modest hospital stay. The taxes relate to income, the benefits don’t.

So, you are entitled under the law, but you did not pay for your benefits.

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8 replies »

  1. Who are you trying to kid? “I” in FICA stand for “INSURANCE” and what part of the word “insurance” you don’t understand? Benefit payment and welfare’s entitlement are two difference things.

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  2. If the overwhelming majority of people receive more than they paid into it, the minority must receive far less than what they paid into it! And even that isn’t enough to sustain these programs. Remember, the government cannot give anything to anyone without first taking it from someone else.

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    • There is an actuarial smoothing of winners and losers, but given the funding status and declining ratio of workers to retirees, it’s clear the system is underfunded. It is only able to pay full benefits because it is using interest earned by trust assets.

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  3. Mr. Q, what you have written is true. Every citizen and taxpayer should have a printout of it and refer to it weekly. Then with that information decide to vote for politicians who will fix the problems in Social Security and Medicare, all armed with facts not myths.

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  4. In a way, I disagree. When I think of ENTITLEMENT – I think of receiving something for nothing. Not paying out money for 42 years.

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