My friend Pete was angry and upset after the presidential election last year. He said that by the end of this year, we’d be living in the dark in burned-out buildings and eating rats to survive. I tried to cheer him up a little. We’ve been friends for a long time. I said they’d be terrific rats, tremendous rats, the biggest rats ever. And they’d be rats from America. He didn’t laugh.
Since then, the social safety net has been gradually worn away. Basic protections for the most vulnerable people have been scaled back or eliminated. And we hear a lot about how those protections are “entitlements” and the people they protect are “entitlement people.” The terms are pejorative but not always clear. It depends on your point of view.