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In the budgetary process, the term refers to those programs that provide financial benefits to the public. Eventually, the public feels “entitled” to receiving these moneys under these programs, and legislators may attempt to drastically revise them only at the expense of their own political careers. Once passed into law, the programs become mandatory, do not need reauthorization, and give those who meet the qualifications a legal right to receive the benefits. The most important entitlement programs in the United States are Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, federal retirement plans, and support to agriculture. The past several presidential administrations have proposed curbing the latter, but interest groups usually ensure that such legislative proposals are defeated. In the political economy, such programs cause problems because they eat ...