People who pay into Social Security and Medicare their whole working lives are often told by politicians that they've 'earned' these retirement benefits. Here's why that's not necessarily so.
Bradley C Bower/AP/File
The question arises because earlier this week House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R) of Wisconsin said they are. Appearing on Laura Ingraham’s radio show on Jan. 22, Representative Ryan said President Obama had mischaracterized the GOP’s attitude toward the nation’s big social insurance programs.
“No one is suggesting that what we call our earned entitlements – entitlements you pay for, like payroll taxes for Medicare and Social Security – are putting you in a ‘taker’ category,” said Ryan. “No one would suggest that whatsoever.”
Of course, Ryan is far from the only politician to describe Social Security and Medicare in this manner. The wording may be more common among Democrats, who often imply that these programs are simply keeping folks’ tax cash warm until they need it – so hands off!
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