I recently used the congressional websites of my alleged US Congresscritters to largely echo this fine piece from the Salt Lake Tribune, to the effect that Social Security and Medicare are not "entitlements" in the sense that they just fall out of the sky and into my checking account every month.
Social Security was deducted from my first paycheck of my first full-time job in 1962, and my last paycheck of my last full-time job in 1999. It was supposed to be paid into the "Social Security Trust Fund", a separate account maintained by the government to finance future, post-retirement payouts, and supposedly not to be used to fund government operations, which were funded out of general tax revenues, e.g., income and corporate taxes. During the 38 years I paid in to it, the promise was that I could rely on a modest income from Social Security to supplement the savings I accrued on my own to ensure a secure retirement. The payments I have been receiving since retiring are not magical manna from heaven, they are a contractual payout of my career-long pay-in. They are not an entitlement but a repayment.
Likewise, when Medicare was established in 1965, a small premium was deducted from every one of my paychecks to pre-pay Medicare Part A insurance, for hospital and hospice services. Part B insurance is paid through income-based premiums deducted from my Social Security income. These payments have been, and are being used to provide basic healthcare services to me and millions of other Americans. The payments are compulsory and the expectation is that they will cover the costs of these services. Medicare is not, therefore, an entitlement, it is a contractual agreement of long standing between the US Government and me.
Recent public statements by congressional leaders have made it clear that in 2018, "entitlements" are to be "reformed" (translation: "gutted"), with Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security targeted for "reform". I foolishly wanted to advise my congresscritters, Sens. Burr (R) and Tillis (R) and Rep. Walker(R), so sent them all an edited version of the Salt Lake Tribune article linked above. Five days later I received an email from Sen. Tillis and another from Rep. Walker. Sen. Burr did respond with a relevant discussion of issues and a promise that he was solidly behind Social Security and Medicare. The Tillis and Walker emails were both filled with the ongoing attempt to mythologize and sterilize the recently passed Rethug Tax Giveaway to the Rich and Powerful as a boon for the middle class, rife with outright fabrications, misdirection and misplaced optimism. And of course, neither addressed the concerns in my recent communication to them.
It is as I have been saying for years: Today, if you want one of your misnomered representatives to listen to you you'd better let your 5-6 digit bribe compaign contribution be your introduction. What a sorry fate has befallen our nation. Which is now, in fact, their nation.