Congress Seeks to Curb Children’s Sense of Entitlement

Bless her heart. This month, Rep. Cynthia Lummis (R-WY) introduced the Retirement Security for Today’s Four-Year-Olds Act of 2011, which seeks to curb the next generation’s sense of entitlement. This bill seeks to change the definition of retirement age under the Social Security Act to 70, as of January 1, 2069. The title is a bit misleading since it affects more than today’s four-year-olds. People turning 70 in 2069 were born in 1999, meaning they will be turning 12 this year. Yes, another grievance for today’s pre-teens to add to the long list of injustices that have befallen them. I’m sure Dick Clark will be long gone come New Year 2069, so as the New Year’s Eve Ball descends down on Times Square, he should be spared the collective whine: I want to retire and I want it now!

In a tribute to Lionel Richie, Rep. Lamar Smith (R-TX) introduced the See Something, Say Something Act of 2011. In a sign of the times, the bill seeks to grant immunity from civil liability to persons “who, in good faith and based on objectively reasonable suspicion, makes, or causes to be made, a voluntary report of [any suspicious transaction, activity, or occurrence indicating than an individual may be engaging, or preparing to engage, in a violation of law relating to an act of terrorism] to an authorized official.” If terrorists are willing to air their grievances in civil court, then we have won.

On a more serious note, I would like to offer this addendum to Cicely Wilson’s recent post. During Sunshine Week, Sen. Herb Kohl (D-WI) introduced the Sunshine in Litigation Act of 2011. If passed, this Act will affect civil suits “in which the pleadings state facts that are relevant to the protection of public health or safety,” in other words personal injury lawsuits probably of the products liability variety. The bill will restrict civil courts from entering protective orders or enforcing confidentiality provisions in settlements that will be detrimental to public health or safety, such as an agreement that prohibits the plaintiff from “disclosing any information relevant to such civil action to any Federal or State agency with authority to enforce laws regulating an activity relating to such information.”