There’s a lot of talk about entitlement lately; ever since our Federal Treasurer’s dramatic announcement back in February (‘The Age of Entitlement is over’) we’ve been arguing about who is entitled to what.
Now four months later we’re no closer to an answer as everyone seems to have their own idea of what the treasurer meant.
To some, the statement ‘The Age of Entitlement is over’ means a crackdown on welfare cheats and dole bludgers while to others it means that failing industries will no longer be propped up by the taxpayer… and some of us think it refers to an end to special tax allowances for the super-rich.
It’s as if everyone’s hearing what they want to hear.
Depending on which dictionary you use, the word ‘entitlement’ has as many as five different meanings, only two of which I suspect are relevant here:
proper rights and benefits guaranteed by law and/or contract
a false sense that rights and benefits are owed when they are not.
In other words, entitlement refers to things that are rightfully yours AND the illusion that things are rightfully yours, even when they’re not.
That’s almost two completely opposite things.
Was the treasurer threatening to cut proper entitlements guaranteed under law or contract? Or was he protecting public benefits from people who aren’t entitled to them?
Or was he being deliberately vague in order to test which way public sentiment would go?
I think we’re entitled to an answer.