Let’s define first “entitlements” from the perspective of the law:
An entitlement is a guarantee of access to benefit based on established right or by legislation . . . 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"). (Wikipedia)
My grandfather scoffed at the idea of Social Security, saying he had five children. He died in his bed at age seventy from lung cancer, suffering for a mercifully short time.
My father greatly benefited from a retirement program for Federal workers, not Social Security, and from Medicare that paid for much of the routine and special medical both he and my mother enjoyed. Neither could have afforded the care with what they had saved.
I now have my Medicare card, and have been told that some of the docs I see do not accept Medicare. Speculating on what I might need fixing in the home stretch of my life, and waking up [finally] to the ominous debt problems all the entitlements have generated, I know rights Congress promised me with these entitlements cannot be granted necessarily.
Applicants for their Social Security disability benefits learn this truth everyday: The government takes an increasing amount of money from some of us, and will not necessarily help those who paid their taxes.
Alas it appears our leaders are running out of other people’s money. (Margaret Thatcher’s comment on socialism’s propensity) They will address this crisis after Labor Day, after their taxpayer-funded vacations – an entitlement that they attach to their positions.
Mrs. Thatcher foresaw our problems when she described her own nation’s difficulties thirty-three years age:
I think we've been through a period where too many people have been given to understand that if they have a problem, it's the government's job to cope with it. "I have a problem, I'll get a grant." "I'm homeless, the government must house me." They're casting their problem on society. And, you know, there is no such thing as society. There are individual men and women, and there are families. And no government can do anything except through people, and people must look to themselves first. It's our duty to look after ourselves and then, also to look after our neighbour. People have got the entitlements too much in mind, without the obligations. There's no such thing as entitlement, unless someone has first met an obligation. - - Margaret Thatcher"Aids, Education and the Year 2000," Woman's Own, 3 October 1987,Page 10 (Emphasis added)
So, to my elected representatives: Please tell us the truth about how big our debt problem really is. And ask the American citizens what we are willing to sacrifice so we can clean up the mess you made.