Thursday, December 06, 2012

What's in a name

I understand what Ryan is trying to say here. I share his regret that we didn't come up with a better name than the fiscal cliff. But I don't think the problem was that everyone was too fond of their own alternative. It's more that none of the alternatives were catchy enough.

I'm reminded of our efforts to dislodge Obamacare. Once a term gets firmly lodged in the official public discourse, it's really hard to replace it. Not even sure it's worth it in this case. This fight won't last that long. Personally, I wish the left could find a way to replace the odious "entitlements." That one makes me want to break crockery every time I hear it.
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Blogger Mule Breath said...

While I fully understand your reason for wishing “entitlement” as a word embedded in political jargon would just go away, I disagree. Just as the President did with Obamacare, I feel we need to embrace it and use the word to our advantage. And just like Obamacare, we accomplish this with education of the ignorant.

In 2008 Suzanne Mettler of Cornell Survey Research Institute polled 1,400 citizens and found that 57 percent of them said they had not ever availed themselves of a “government social program.” In the same survey the respondents were given a list of 21 federal programs and asked if they had used any of these. Out of the respondents who had denied using entitlement programs, fully 94 percent admitting to using at least one from the list and the average was four. The list included programs like the home-mortgage-interest deduction, Social Security, unemployment insurance, veterans benefits, Medicare, Medicaid and student loans.

The problem isn’t the word itself, but rather ignorance of our government’s role in society.

8:33:00 PM  
Blogger Libby Spencer said...

Good point. When you can't dislodge it, the answer is to co-opt it.

8:34:00 PM  
Blogger Capt. Fogg said...

That's so funny and so true. Remember the Tea Party survey that showed how few of them paid any Federal Income tax and how many paying nothing thought their taxes had gone up? Ignorance is a contagious disease spread by Foxes.

10:25:00 AM  

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