This is similar to what I've been saying in recent years:
Let's drop the whole notion of "entitlement." Just eliminate it. Politicians, pundits and academics who talk about entitlements would then have to name the actual programs and argue their merits and demerits. This would encourage clarity and candor. Of course, that's why it won't happen. Generally, Americans don't want clarity and candor in their fiscal debates. We blame our leaders for budget brawls -- this latest was a doozy -- but forget that our leaders are largely governed by public opinion, which is awash in contradictions.
So the government is "open" and the immediate threat of default has lifted. Great. But the political stalemate remains. Americans oppose excessive government spending and persistent deficits. Yet, they also support the individual benefit programs (aka "entitlements"), led by Social Security, that drive spending and deficits.
We hate big-government but we don't want to give up our benefits, which are what drive the spending. I'm not sure dropping the name "entitlements" would accomplish much, however. I think we're too far gone for such an easy fix.
I think one of the things that upset people about the use of the word "entitlement" (like Michelle and me) is it is too often used to describe benifits we have alread paid for over the years. Medicare and Social Security are benifits we have paid into for most of our lives, they are not "entitlements".