Gary Anderson Blog | Peter G. Peterson Turned Entitlement Into A Bad Word | Talkmarkets
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Peter G. Peterson Turned Entitlement Into A Bad Word

Date: Wednesday, March 21, 2018 8:08 PM EST

Peter G. Peterson recently passed away at the age of 91. He was lauded for his philanthropy, for his willingness to bring right and left into the foundation containing his name, that he generously funded, and for his thoughtfulness. But the truth is, Pete Peterson forever split and damaged America by making entitlement a bad word. 

Pete Peterson is everything that Americans should fear from those who attended the University of Chicago, where he received his MBA. From Leo Strauss onward to Paul Wolfowitz, the university has produced some real villains. Peterson fits the mold, but was cunning in his ability to look centrist. As Leo Strauss, father of the neocons, who taught at the university, once said, keep the form of democracy but lie to the masses. 

It was Peterson who made the word "Entitlement" into a bad word. Originally, the government use of the word meant that those who put into the system were entitled to reap the rewards of their contributions. Peterson made Social Security into some sort of welfare program, an "entitlement". The fallout from this point of view continues. 

From a Los Angeles Times article we see the horror of the Peterson dogma: 


For one thing, most recipients of Social Security and Medicare have spent their lives earning the benefits through payroll taxes. For another, the fiscal issues faced by Social Security and Medicare are distinguishable — Social Security is not facing an immediate crisis and may not for decades; Medicare's crisis stems entirely from the externality of rising healthcare costs. Finally, "more affluent" is not synonymous with "affluent": the "more affluent half" of U.S. households in 1994 were those earning $32,000 or more, according to the Census Bureau. That would be $48,418 in today's dollars. Today, the median figure is about $50,000, which shows that the average American family hasn't progressed much over that time.
Nevertheless, Peterson argued that too much money was going to the "middle class." He defined that segment as households earning $30,000 to $200,000, "which, however, hard-pressed, cannot claim to be destitute." He observed that cutting off entitlement outlays to these recipients "would balance the budget, and would so with a comfortable surplus to spare."
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