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Entitled To Vote?

© Jen Sorensen

I wonder who first started calling them entitlements? Is this another example of Republican framing?



  1. starluna wrote:

    I was curious about when the term “entitlement” was first used in relation to social welfare programs. So I did a quick Lexis Nexis search of the terms “entitlement” AND “social security” OR “welfare” between 1980-1989. I found the earliest use of the term reference in US, English language news sources is 1983. That “first” article discusses the Reagan administration’s cuts to food security and other programs to support the poor.

    This isn’t definitive in any sense. It seems that the articles in US, English speaking news sources only go back to 1983 (the earliest article is 2 January 1983), so the language is likely to have been there before this date. What also needs to be addressed is the question of when did the term entitlement take on a negative connotation in political discourse.

    Regardless, the negative connotation seems to have been part of political discourse for a long time.

    Tuesday, September 13, 2011 at 8:24 am | Permalink
  2. TENTHIRTYTWO wrote:

    In case you missed it, someone finally came out and said what the rest are thinking:

    See, poor people only vote destructively for their own interests, while rich people never vote for their own interests.

    Keep your air sick bags nearby and enjoy!

    Tuesday, September 13, 2011 at 8:43 am | Permalink
  3. Don wrote:

    1032 – Scarey stuff on that link. Almost makes me want to join the site to stir some sanity into the mix. Do note I said “almost.”

    It’s curious how the word has been put in the same basket with liberal. I’ve paid into Social Security since I was 18. I’m entitled to my SSI payment when I’m old enough to receive it next year. I retired from Federal service with full entitlement to using the Federal Employee Health Benefits program. I earned those entitlements. Sad how words lose their true meaning in order to use them to slander/libel others.

    Tuesday, September 13, 2011 at 9:43 am | Permalink
  4. Ongoing Headache wrote:

    1032- wow, what an article. The responses were even better.

    Two of my favorite:
    “I’ve said all along we need LESS people voting. The conservatives should push for poll taxes (if you’re not willing or able to pay, then you probably are not willing or able to be informed enough to vote)”…”no sufferage for anyone who cannot read. One person one vote is a recipe for political suicide and the Communist’s dream.”

    “I agree completely with this article and have a simple solution to fix it. Every person’s vote is weighted according to how much they paid in taxes. So of that evil CEO paid $750,000 in taxes, his vote would be the equivalent of 750,000 voters who paid nothing. No skin in the game, no say is how the real world works”…”This would be “fair” and serve “justice” as those footing the bill would have the biggest say in what is done with THEIR money.”

    Unfortunately, that “evil CEO” he speaks of is probably paying $0 in taxes after their loopholes so sorry, no vote for you.

    Tuesday, September 13, 2011 at 10:01 am | Permalink
  5. ebdoug wrote:

    My mother claimed she never earned a quarter in her life working. She did win at gambling on bridge and reported her winnings on her tax return. She had a comfortabele inherited income, never had to work. She was a property owner. She wasn’t male. She did read all the time. But the right wing wants to disenfranchise those who don’t work. I grew up with so many people who only tended to their profolio as their avocation.
    April commented on the cited article by 1032 that people who don’t pay taxes should not be allowed to vote. So let’s have a vote “Do you want people who pay taxes to be allowed to vote or not?” Since the only people who don’t pay taxes are those who have never bought anything, that would solve the problem immediately. Almost everyone could vote.

    Tuesday, September 13, 2011 at 10:31 am | Permalink
  6. westomoon wrote:

    Well, this is actually kinda fun to contemplate. If you disenfranchised everyone receiving an “entitlement”, you would surely take the vote away from the recipients of: agricultural subsidies; oil-exploration subsidies; owners of commercial real estate, corporate jets and other capital assets, and offshore income sources (more tax-subsidy entitlements); the hedge-fund industry and people who live off capital gains… It;s an interesting list to contemplate.

    Also, if you consider who makes up the teabagger “faithful”, meaning mostly cluelelss people on Social Security retirement and disability benefits, stripping the franchise in the manner intended by the billboard could have its good points too. You’d end up with an electorate composed entirely of people who work for a paycheck with no help from the government — most of the mega-wealthy would be disenfranchised, along with nearly all of the hypnotized astro-turfers. Hmmm…

    Wednesday, September 14, 2011 at 7:52 am | Permalink
  7. ebdoug wrote:

    Westomoon-love your thought process.

    Wednesday, September 14, 2011 at 11:44 am | Permalink
  8. Back to the original question: the unabridged Oxford English Dictionary includes in the etymologies of the words all the historical usages/changes. I can’t easily access the OED anymore (my public library doesn’t subscribe). If one of the readers is associated with a college, though, that person could look up “entitlement” and get the both when this meaning first appeared and in what printed source it appeared in.

    Then it would be pretty easily to check what other documents site that source, and then assess what the publication medium was, to find out if the word was intentionally framed. It would be the work of a couple of hours, tops, if I still had access to a graduate library.

    And you can probably guess if this meaning of the word was intentionally framed based simply on who first used it that way and where it was published. Unfortunately, that would have to be only a guess: the OED mainly doesn’t track words in the oral language, which includes the broadcast media. So, if Fox first used it that way, the OED would most likely only pick it up once it was used in a print/non-video form. That first person to use it in print might have used it in response to the oral language, instead of intentionally redefining the word. That’s why just one person’s use, even the first, isn’t enough evidence to suggest the term was framed.

    Ok, sorry, that was pedantic of me. đŸ˜‰

    Wednesday, September 14, 2011 at 2:00 pm | Permalink
  9. Sasha wrote:

    I think “earned benefit” is a better name for most “entitlements”.

    Wednesday, September 14, 2011 at 6:41 pm | Permalink
  10. rk wrote:

    “Less people voting”?? That sounds like a push for a zombie vote. I’m only 2/3 of a person and I count. Then I eat brains!

    Wednesday, September 14, 2011 at 10:02 pm | Permalink