Benefit


I read Kathy’s post “Invested in Cluelessness”at Left-Handed Nib.  In the fifth paragraph of her inset, the word “benefits” is used.

I am having difficulty with the way the authors of the NYT piece put a negative connotation on that word.

I (and my employer) paid into an account at the Social Security Administration for over 45 years that was called FICA.  FICA is defined in the 2nd graf.  I was a productive member of society for all of those 45 years.  The government said, in effect, that if you work until retirement, we’ll pay you a certain amount, based on your earnings history.  Some may call that a benefit.  I call it an EARNED benefit.

When I joined the Navy in 1958, the government said, in essence,

“Son, we realize that military pay is quite low.  But if you stay with us for twenty or more years, we’ll make it up to you by sending you a check every month for the rest of your life.”

Sounded like a good deal to a third class petty officer with a pregnant wife.  Yeah, I missed a lot of birthdays and anniversary’s and Christmases and so on.  And the Navy has faithfully deposited some money in my checking account every month for loyal and faithful service.  Some may call that a benefit.  I call it an EARNED benefit.

And what about Medicare and the hip replacement in that NYT article.  Well, just in case you need reminding, while FICA was being deducted from your wages, a few dollars each payday went to the Medicare program plus the $100 I pay each month now that the Ol’ Chief is over 65.  Some may call that a benefit.  I call it an EARNED benefit.

This rant is in no way meant to denigrate those folks that have a true need for the safety net like this essayist at the Daily Nebraskan as posted at They Gave Us A Republic.  I have family members who, through absolutely no fault of their own are forced to use the ‘reduced/free school lunch’ program.  And use Unemployment Insurance.  Hey, it is called insurance for a reason.

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