The Benefit of a Word
It’s may be a small thing, but it always bothers me when the word “benefit” is used to describe welfare-type payments and services, as in:
“This is to make the system better,” [Governor Carcieri] said yesterday, noting that nursing home residents could more easily use Medicaid funds to live with family or friends under the new plan. But when asked about a separate proposal to limit the “benefit package” for thousands of low-income health-care recipients, Carcieri referred questions to a department head.
The connotation of one’s “benefit package” at work seems to me to be that it is an extra benefit of doing something — namely, helping to move the company forward. In the case of insurance (not necessarily of the healthcare kind), one receives “benefits” for having invested in the plan.
If language matters, and I believe that it does, we ought to come up with a new term for receiving public largess, taken under penalty of legal repercussions, based purely on perceived need. Maybe “graft.”