Commitment Reform

4 Aug

How many times have you heard about “entitlement reform”?  As in the government creates programs that give things out and people decide they are entitled to them.  Programs like welfare, social security, medicare, and on and on.

Conservative politicians have decided that the government is too big and that we pay too much in taxes.  Part of the problem, according to the narritive, is that all these slackers have decided that the world owes them a living and so they are on the government dole, waiting for their “entitlements.”

The problem I have with that is I think entitlement reform is not really what we are doing.  We are doing commitment reform.

We have a long history of democracy in this country.  Social programs such as social security, food stamps, welfare, etc. were all initiated by elected representatives.  These were things we wanted to do.  Now we may not have done the math right, and we may not have considered the full effects of the demographics.  There may have been unintended consequences of our policies.  We may not want to keep the programs in place or pay so much for them.

But in revising those programs we need to be honest about what we are doing.  We are reevaluating promises we made, and we are deciding which ones to keep.  We may have overpromised.  We may have miscalculated the costs.    We are chosing not to honor those commitments we made in the past.


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