America and the Entitled Class

Posted: July 8, 2012 in Government
Tags: , , , , , ,

You may think based on the title of this post that I am going to rant on the rich or affluent.  If that is what you are looking for, turn away now, because I see nothing wrong with the rich and/or affluent.  I especially find nothing wrong with the rich who have actually worked for what they have, those who have risen from where they were to where they are.  They earned it.  No, what I take umbrage with in regards to the entitled class, are those think it is their divine right to be provided for, regardless of whether you are part of the 1% or 99% as is the current terminology of the day.

Dictionary dot com defines entitlement as :

1. the act of entitling.
2. the state of being entitled.
3. the right to guaranteed benefits under a government program, as Social Security or unemployment compensation.
Please pay careful attention to the third definition provided.  I personally think this is the one that should be represented first, because it is what a government entitlement really is about.  Social Security and unemployment are entitlements, do you know why?  They are entitlements because you are required to dedicate a portion of your pay to funding your usage of those benefits at a future time.  They were never intended to be benefits in which you did not have to do anything in which to receive the financial compensation to which they are intended.  After all, if that were the case, you would be able to apply for unemployment upon graduating or even quitting school, even if you never worked a day or had any skills to provide to a job.  This is simply not the case however.  Some of us never have even used unemployment, despite the fact we have been working for close to thirty years and paying into it all that time.  When I retire from the Army in a couple of years, I will not be eligible for unemployment, even though I have been paying into it all this time.  A little confusing I know.
So, now that I have provided a definition and an example of an entitlement that is probably clear as mud for you, lets step it up a notch and lay out a few “entitlements” that may actually meet the governmental definition of one, but in reality is sucking off the teat of the government and as such, you (and I) the taxpayer.
1. Welfare – Originally intended as “assistance”, this much abused and unchecked system of funding people to stay on their asses doing nothing, all the while collecting more money for more children, meets the governmental requirements to be an entitlement, but is it really?  Lets think about this one for a moment.  Many people use the welfare system for what it was intended for, assistance.  They have fallen upon hard times and need a helping hand to get back on track.  When they get back on track, they will be taxed accordingly in their paychecks, not as a payback, but as a means to sustain the system that helped them when they needed it.  They will pay no more money to it than any of us do, it will simply be a percentage of their overall paycheck, just like the rest of us.
Now lets turn away from the responsible, yet needy citizens, to the thousands who are sitting out there, collecting their monthly check and doing absolutely nothing to get out of the system.  In fact in many cases it has become a familial, generational career path.  Look at some of the most urban families that collect welfare, as well as some of the most rural and tell me what you find.  It is the generational perpetuation of the welfare system from family to family.  Millions are wasted each and every year to whole lineages of folks.  LBJ’s Appalachia plan is first and foremost one of the reasons it has become an entitlement.  There has never been a means to get people off of welfare, nor has their been any incentive to do so.  Some states have tried to regulate it, but it has never gone far enough to develop helping people better themselves.  Why should they when they can get paid for doing nothing?
2. Higher education –  There is no fundamental right to graduate college.  Despite the President’s stance on it, I do not agree each and every person is entitled to higher education just for being an American.  I do agree with him that each and every person should always seek to better themselves and continuously educate themselves, but the solution to all of our ills as a nation is not getting each and every person a four year degree.  My fellow 40 somethings will remember the good old days when tech school was an option, especially for the “troublesome” students.  Well, guess what, those folks who back then took classes on focused skills, are swiftly moving into the retirement brackets today.  There is a huge shortage skilled workers today, pressmen, welders, HVAC mechanics, electricians, plumbers and countless more trades that have less and less educational representation at the early school levels.  Developing a skilled workforce and getting kids into and then participating in a higher education program would solve more issues than just allowing and representing college as a divine right of being an American.
I am by no means advocating that if kids have the opportunity to attend college that they should not.  I am definitely an advocate of using your brain, at every age.  Both my wife and I are recent college graduates, and it is quite normal to see “non-traditional” students chasing their educational dreams.  We both feel after spending our time earning our degrees that we probably would have not gotten what we hoped out of our college experiences had we been able to attend right out of high school.  I earned my degree courtesy of the Army, while my wife went the more traditional route.  One of the things she was most shocked about was how ill-prepared many of the recent high school grads were and how many basic classes had to be offered in order to get them at the basic level of college equivalency, i.e. math and english.
It is up to the individual whether or not they proceed to higher education.  Along with that it is up to them to determine the best means to finance that education.  The money for college is not an entitlement.  The debt that is assumed as a result of student loans and poor planning, is not my responsibility to absorb.  Debt forgiveness, is not an entitlement.  If we want an effective, educated workforce than people need to seek degrees and certification in sectors of careers that they can actually find work in, regardless of their passion.  They can pursue their passion when they can afford to, not on mine and your dimes until they get there.
Only in the military as far as I am aware is the only place that guarantees money for higher education, in essence an entitlement.  Serve your country for the term of enlistment and receive enough to complete your degree at the state rate in essence.  However, unlike the civilian sector an entitlement like the GI Bill is contingent upon you actually performing your duties honorably and completing your term of service.  Get anything other than an Honorable Discharge and you could possibly risk losing some or all of your entitlements that you enlisted to get.  If the civilian world worked a little more like the military and removed benefits and/or penalized those abusing the system, then I do believe there would be a worthy investment of tax payers funding “entitlements”.  Simply because there is a government initiative or program to provide it, does not mean that it is an entitlement.
Politicians and the media are as much to blame for the mis-identification of subsidy programs as entitlements, as are those who abuse them.  Politicians misrepresent their abilities and authorities to constituents, often preying on the disenfranchised and those most affected by government subsidy programs.  Promising more and coming to the defense of programs despite the fact they do nothing to force people to try and get off of them.  They create the environment in which it is all right to suckle the teat that we the tax payer provide the milk for.  So in a sense we are just as much to blame if not more for the predicaments we are in.  We can identify what is wrong and who is responsible for it, yet we still continue to vote them in to office.  When we do vote them out, it is often to the extreme, our current House of Representatives is a great example.  Our “fair and balanced” media is responsible for providing those oh so educational segments of 1.5 to 3 minutes in length in which they have one person prepared to defend their side against someone from the other side who obviously failed public speech at their over-priced university.
Many of my views are just that, my views.  They are over-simplified in many aspects, but over-simplification is the basis for all good rants.  I get it and I realize there are no simple fixes to anything.  Especially where the government and perceived entitlements are concerned.  We will never get anywhere though if those most affected by the funding of entitlements do not push for change; those affected are across the financial spectrum from poor to rich, they are the workers who provide the funds for programs.  Taxing the rich at a higher rate is not the answer, while maybe enforcing what is currently their required tax responsibility and limiting their breaks would be a step in the right direction.  Access to educational opportunities and the requirement that a solid foundational education be provided in the lower level schools should be the priority for government, rather than playing the shell game of pimping the four year plus degree, then attempting to lay the debt for that degree at the feet of the tax payer who did not attend college.  Get our people trained to enter the workforce, regardless of their current education.  That MBA does no one any good if you are collecting unemployment.  Our children need to know what the real world consists of.  They are not getting the skills required for basic level college courses and they are not being taught the basics of life.  No one is entitled anything in this country except for the OPPORTUNITY to succeed.  Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness do not mean you do not have to earn the result you desire, they simply mean you should have access to the same opportunities for success as everyone else, simply because you are an American.
“E Pluribus Unum” or Out of Many One is meant to be the melding of our diverse country and that it’s inhabitants forge the foundation and are the mortar that holds this nation together.  It does not mean that out of many peoples paychecks one can live at the expense of those taxpayers, while doing nothing to give back to the nation.  Lets work towards reform and get things back on track.  It is not a Democrat or Republican thing like many would make it out to be, it is a public that believes what is told to them and politicians who rely upon that ignorance and lack of due diligence in addition to those addicted to government succor are riding this country downhill.  You are entitled to good leadership America, wake up and make sure you get it.
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Comments
  1. Storm M. Silvermane says:

    Because of reasons best not talked about here I am on Disability, disability I paid into for many many years of my life. I had been working on the books since I was 14 years old. When I became disabled I had to basically be forced to apply for the benefits I had paid into for so many years because I didn’t want a handout. But, I did because I had to support my children. What I found disgusting and irritating was that people were getting disability they never paid into way to easy. I had an Uncle who if he worked it was a couple of weeks at a time and got fired, he applied for disability based on being epileptic, ( he wasn’t) but because he could fake it well enough he got it. So when I was told I needed to I was hesitant, until it was explained to me, I was getting the money I earned and placed into this system. I still hate it though, and because it is based on the earnings I made, it is not much. So I had to apply for food stamps to feed my children. What I saw at the DSS office were people coming in with unruly kids dressed in the finest clothes kids could want, the parents dripping with gold jewelry and it really pissed me off that many of them had cell phones back when cell phones required a down payment of at least 500 dollars to get them. I got my cell when they came up with prepaid. I was angry, I was disgusted that I had worked hard all my life, did things the right way, fought and worked hard for everything I had and they just screwed the system. I even have a sister (not the one you all know) who screwed the system while her kids lived with her. She made money hand over fist dealing drugs, and still brought in more money a month than I did working overtime. Yeah, so I see your post very clearly and I agree with a lot of it. Sorry got so long winded here. I might have to make a post on something like this now.

    Like

    • I understand your anger. I am glad there is someone who has contributed to the system who is need of it that can speak clearly about it. I would rather have a “long winded” comment that gives context and opinion than one that says “you suck”, although those can be fun too!

      The system is there to provide for those who have provided for it. There will always be those who look to make something off of it with little to know discernible interest in contributing to it. We as a nation and as voters need to make it much more unattractive to take advantage of it.

      Like

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