Home » Corben's Writings » The Entitlement State

The Entitlement State

I’m going to be cliche and start off with a quote.  Walter E. Williams, an economics professor at George Mason University once said:

“Let me offer you my definition of social justice: I keep what I earn and you keep what you earn.  Do you disagree?  Well then tell me how much of what I earn belongs to you – and why?”

Let me be clear.  The government is responsible to its people.  Since Locke and the Enlightenment, philosophers and thinkers have figured out that the ideal government exists only to protect the individual rights of those it governs.  However, the government does not have an obligation to the people to take money from those who have earned it and give it to those who have not.

Ever since FDR and his New Deal, our nation has slipped farther and farther into this thought process that the government has the responsibility redistribute wealth.  Some argue that the government is doing what it can to “promote the general welfare” by improving the lives of those who are less fortunate.  Don’t get me wrong, charity is a good thing.  Personal generosity is one of the most desirable traits that a human being can posses.  Notice I said “human being.”  The government is not the one that needs to be redistributing wealth on an arbitrary basis and taxing people just because they make more money.

If taxing those in the highest income bracket is a solution to the gap in living standards between those who make the highest level of income and those who make the lowest, please explain to me how taking money away from those who create jobs in this country is going to improve the lives of those who make less money?  I would love to hear your revolutionary and progressive thought process on how giving money to those who are less fortunate solves any sort of problem.  You cannot multiply wealth by dividing it.  It’s counter-intuitive.  It’s math people.  Figure it out.

Another problems is the fact that since these entitlement programs have been around for so long now, they have become engrained into our society and people have learned to live off of them.  The Great Society programs that were proposed and put into action during the Johnson administration are the ones that still exist today and are taking up the largest majority of our yearly budget as a nation.  We spend so much money to keep these programs going, and all it does is keep the thought process going instead of attacking it at the heart and trying to fix “Crisis of Confidence” as Jimmy Carter would have said it.  Ironically, I don’t believe in a lot of Carter’s politics.  However, in that speech, he touched on a very important point that I think is worth noting, regardless of his political affiliation.  He talked about how even back then, the United States was becoming increasingly materialistic and was starting to deviate from the founding principles that made this country into the great nation that it is today.  He talks about how the citizens of the United States were not willing to go out and work as hard to earn a living as they had been in the past, and how being able to afford a roof over their heads with food and clothes to protect them and nourish them wasn’t enough any more.  They had to have cars, television sets and other luxuries that had been made out to be necessities by that time.  The change in society was irreversible, but at the time he was trying to get the nation to respond to the energy crisis and to be more frugal with their energy expenditures for the sake of the entire nation.  Now that’s where I start to deviate from his politics, but that doesn’t matter.  The idea that he expressed about working for your things and being content with what you have is something that I think we need to listen to and adopt today.

The government has become a part of the everyday lives of people in the United States today, and that’s now how it should be.  There are some people that sit around and just wait for the next government check to roll in so that they can go and buy groceries, when they would be able to go and buy those groceries now had they not gone out and bought that new cell phone.  These cases are the exception, but they do happen.  Taxpayer money is being wasted every single year to pay for things that are not considered to be necessities in any other part of the world, but the civilized West has come to view them as some sort of entitled property.  The poor here in the United States have it better than any other nation in the world, and yes that is a valid argument.  The fact that the poor here can actually go sit down and watch TV if they want to for the most part and throw their leftovers in the fridge is a valid argument.

We need to revert back to a state where we don’t think about the things that we own as being a defining point in who we are.  If we have a roof over our heads and food on our tables we should be happy.  Having those things that are not truly essential to life cannot be considered the standard anymore, especially if we are going to live in a country where the current administration does nothing but work to expand the power of the federal government and keeps instituting policies that destroy jobs and work to redistribute wealth.  The people who depend on government checks every month to get by don’t have the faith in themselves or the government to go out and possibly get that second or third job to try and work to earn a comfortable living to suppor their families because they don’t know if they can find it or if the job will be there much longer if they do get it because the government is killing jobs daily with their rampant taxes and regulations.

I’ll leave you with one final thought: I have touched on my ideal situation of personal charity before, but I’ll restate it.  If personal charity was something that everyone in the nation put higher on their priority list and people were willing to give money to organizations that helped to get people who were unemployed or were struggling financially back on their feet and get them skills to get back into the workforce and earn a decent living, then the unemployment rate would be much lower and our economy would be the strongest that the world had ever seen.  Our businesses would be able to pay higher wages since the workers would have more skill and would be able to churn out more product, plus the unions wouldn’t have to get involved over wage rates because of that.  Our workforce would be competitive, prevalent, and large.  The government would have to stop taxing businesses so they could go and hire more workers.  Everyone wins when those who are more well of begin to be more charitable, and those who are less fortunate realize that they can provide for themselves without the help of the government.

CB

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