Rights and Responsibilities
What many today might call “rights,” such as federally-guaranteed Social Security payments, disability payments, food stamps, education, a minimum wage, and health care, the Founders would not have seen as rights. Even today, these benefits are more rightly called “entitlements.” This difference does not mean that entitlements are better or worse, but calling them “rights” can be dangerous.
- If entitlements are understood as rights, then government cannot unjustly deprive you of them.
- If you cannot be justly deprived of them, then they must be provided to you by government (whose job it is to protect rights).
- If they must be provided to you by government, then it must be at public expense, as government has no money except that which it takes from the people through taxes.
- If entitlements must be provided through taxation, then they must be provided to certain people at the expense of certain others.