In law, a prerogative is an exclusive right given from a government or state and invested in an individual or group, the content of which is separate from the body of rights enjoyed by others.
Today's newspapers include a story announcing the Small Business Administration adding two programs to increase lending to businesses owned by women and minorities. These 'streamline' the requirements for this particular group of business owners to receive government guaranteed funding.
This type of discriminatory prerogative is now a constant with government. Every program is means tested, or targeted or in some way or another designed to only apply to a subgroup of the citizens.
Much of this seems to have grown out of the idea of progressive taxation rates designed to 'make the rich pay their fair share.' Which many politicians seem to feel is still insufficient, though the Tax Foundation notes that 2008 figures indicate that the top 5%, 7 million, making over $160K per year pay 59% of all income taxes and the top 25%, 35 million, making over $67K per year pay 86% of all income tax. I don't know what they will define as a 'fair share.'
All of this is bad economics, bad government and bad for us as a society. Allocation of contracts, loans, and the like to veterans, women, minorities, Indians or whatever distorts the true best economic outcome that creates the most wealth for american society and the highest standard of living. Even worse, there are enormous resources committed to deciding who the winners and losers are in this race for largess, resources spent capturing it via lobbying, resources spent administering the delivery and then resources spent auditing to ensure that it went to the chosen few.
There are programs where we've gone too far the other way as well. Social Security was envisioned as a program where those of us in productive work agreed that we didn't want older citizens starving when they could no longer work. It has morphed into a program where all citizens who have ever worked receive a stipend after they reach age 67, each for an average of 29 years. This isn't what we originally agreed to.
Accurate Reality: We need to get the government out of choosing winners and losers in so many areas and get back to equal treatment of all citizens before the law and by the government. There should only be exceptions to this in specific programs whose purpose is discriminatory, for example, social security as a safety net for poor retirees. No others.