President Obama defended the idea of entitlements like Medicare and Social Security in his second inaugural address Monday, arguing that these programs strengthen the nation and free Americans to "take the risks that make this country great."
"We reject the belief that America must choose between caring for the generation that built this country and investing in the generation that will build its future," Obama said. "For we remember the lessons of our past, when twilight years were spent in poverty, and parents of a child with a disability had nowhere to turn."
He continued: "We do not believe that in this country, freedom is reserved for the lucky, or happiness for the few. We recognize that no matter how responsibly we live our lives, any one of us, at any time, may face a job loss, or a sudden illness, or a home swept away in a terrible storm. The commitments we make to each other – through Medicare, and Medicaid, and Social Security – these things do not sap our initiative; they strengthen us. They do not make us a nation of takers; they free us to take the risks that make this country great."