George Orwell would be proud. The latest Washington catchphrase deserves a place of honor in the 1984 lexicon, right between "War Is Peace" and "Love Is Hate." It's a virus of the language that's spreading faster than the stomach flu.
"The President's budget punts on entitlement reform," reads a statement by House Republicans. "Our budget will lead where the President has failed, and it will include real entitlement reforms." "You have to do entitlement reforms if you are serious about this budget," says Rep. Paul Ryan.
Reality check: Nobody's proposing 'entitlement reform.' That term is a cloaking device for some very ugly intentions. It's a meaningless manufactured phrase cooked up by some highly-paid consultant, and it diminishes the sum total of human understanding every time it's used. The phrase is a euphemism for deep cuts to programs that are vital and even life-saving for millions of elderly and poor people, but it's politically unpalatable to say that. So it became necessary to come up with yet another cognition-killing term designed to numb us from the human toll of our political actions. "Entitlement reform" is the new "collateral damage."
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