Medicare, Social Security are not entitlements, they are earned benefits

Posted: Dec. 28, 2012 9:44 am Updated: Jan. 18, 2013 11:15 am


To The Herald-Whig:

First of all, Medicare and Social Security are not entitlements as politicians are so fond of calling them. They are earned benefits. During their entire working lives, employees have money automatically deducted from their paychecks, with matching payments from their employes. That makes Medicare and Social Security earned benefits, not entitlements

Actual entitlements are what politicians enjoy giving themselves. For example: Automatic annual pay raises that they no longer have to vote on. It would look bad to give themselves pay raises when so many have spent so much time being obstructionist and do-nothings, so politicians solved that problem years ago without review, automatic, undeserved pay raises, even while demanding other public employees take cuts.

Pensions, originally designed to reward an employee after a lifetime of service, are available for politicians after five measly years. So even if their constituents are unhappy with their elected officials and vote them out of office, politicians still get a pension. That is the very definition of entitlement.

Most of us who began working at the age 16 are expected to stay in the harness and continue our labors for 51 years. If the politicians get their way and push collecting Medicare benefits to age 67, 65 and 66-year-olds are at the young end of the spectrum for Medicare and less likely to need as much in the way of medical services. But in the private sector, 65 and 66-year-olds are considered elderly, making it difficult and very expensive to buy private health insurance, or even impossible. The cost to them will be triple the alleged savings to the government.

We are told the government would save about $100 billion over 10 years by raising the eligibility age to 67 for Medicare. It sounds like a lot, doesn't it until you remember Republicans spent that much money every 8.3 months on the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. A total of $12 billion per month was spent on those wars in borrowed money, month after month, year after year, even while two big tax cuts were given to the rich, creating our current deficit. But we workers are expected to give up two years of our Medicare to cut a deficit we didn't create, and neither did the Medicare program.

It's time we citizens stand together against rapacious politicians who want to gut our safety net programs as a way to solve the problems that they created.


Joan Gilkerson

Kahoka, Mo