Watch An Argument Against Cuts to Medicare and Social Security on PBS. See more from PBS NewsHour.

A discussion of the role of “so-called entitlements” in the “Fiscal Cliff” debate:

JUDY WOODRUFF: Well, first of all, why shouldn’t Social Security and Medicare be part of the entire group of government spending programs that are being looked at to get — to deal with the deficits?

MAX RICHTMAN: Well, before I answer that, I was very interested in the way you characterized these programs as entitlements, so-called, you said, entitlements.

And we think that a better term would be earned benefits.

You know, I counted the letters in the word entitlement. There are 11 letters. But often people refer to entitlement as a four-letter word. And it’s a derogatory, derisive characterization.

These are earned benefits. People pay for them while they’re working, Social Security, Part A Medicare, the hospital part, 25 percent of the premium for Part B. So they’re — I wish we would switch from entitlements to earned benefits, first of all.


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    Absolutely perfect.
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