Euphemism-Alert!: “Entitlement Reform”

At the Huffington Post, I read this excerpt from an article about Tim Pawlenty’s plan to run for the presidency:

Pawlenty’s message to Tea Party voters, whose energy helped the Republican party take control of the House last fall, combined two of the movement’s favorite phrases: “We the people of the United States will take back our government,” he said in voiceover while the video showed U.S. Marines marching.

The 50-year old father of two summarized his time as governor with the claim that his administration “proved we can restore limited government in America.”

As for a platform, Pawlenty gave a vague clue to what he’ll define as his basic planks. “We know what we need to do — grow jobs, limit government spending, and tackle entitlements,” he said.

I hope you didn’t miss the irony of a voice-over concerning “we will take back our government” fused with images of the U.S. Marines marching. The U.S. Marines represent the federal government, the last time I checked. So is Pawlenty’s plan to take back the Marines from the government, or to use the Marines to give the government to Tea Party voters, or . . . ? I hope you get the bigger picture: please don’t analyze Pawlenty’s images and rhetoric. He’s got Paw-lenty of nothin’, nothin’ is Paw-lenty for him.

But let us focus on “tackling entitlements” or “entitlement reform,” the euphemism du jour of pandering GOPers.

So, when you go to a cafe and give the cashier money, guess what? You are entitled to the beverage you ordered!

When out of your paycheck is taken a Medicare tax and a Social Security tax, guess what? You are entitled to an annuity-payment and to health-care when you are old. How dare you accept the annuity payment and the health-care. Free-loader!

That well known Leftist, Harry Truman, came up with the idea of Medicare, by the way, but it took twenty years for that bit of common sense to get passed–during the Johnson administration. By all means, let’s limit government to the size it was when Truman was president.

My suggestion: reject the euphemism, “entitlement reform.” Insist upon something slightly more blunt and truthful: screwing over old people while always ignoring the revenue-side of the equation.

And “limit government”? If he’s serious, Pawlenty will limit . . . government’s massive military-budget (our military-spending is greater than that of the rest of the world’s, combined); government’s interest in whether a woman has a baby or not; government’s definition of marriage (I suspect you and another adult can handle that definition, especially since you, not Pawlenty, will be the ones getting married); and so on.

Of course, Pawlenty and the other Panderers want to “tackle” entitlements (image: Marines tackling old people) but never tackle, say, mega-corporations via anti-trust laws. Nor will they tackle corporations who pollute or mining corporations that laugh at safety-regulations.

Fire up the Orwellian crap-detector when you hear or read “entitlement reform” and “limited government,” please. Keep your hands off my coffee, please, Governor Paw. I paid for it. Limit government on behalf of whom, please? Be specific, Governor.

And how does a president’s government “grow jobs” without asserting itself? Okay, I’ll play along: by staying out of the way, the Free Market and all that. But if you’re staying out of the way, you’re not growing anything, and if you really want to stay out of the way, you’ll not run for president. I mean, if you really want to limit government, stop running for office, for God’s sake. If government is so repugnant, run away, run away!


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