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On Entitlements? You Should Be Embarrassed

Government

A new report from U.S. Senator Jeff Sessions's office shows over 110 million people in the United States today are receiving some sort of handout from the government. That astronomical number does not include Social Security nor Medicare. Fact is, in this country, we’re entitled to the rights afforded us by the Creator and that are enumerated in the Constitution. We are entitled to equal opportunity to life, liberty and a pursuit of happiness. I think I’ve read that somewhere. We are not entitled to endless free money or food or housing or electricity.

I’m 46 years old. I graduated high school in 1984. I remember the kids who were on the free lunch program when I was in school. They didn’t wear new clothes nor shoes. They didn’t wear jewelry nor wear designer backpacks. They were good kids — as happy as any of us--but they were just not as well off as some of the others. I remember asking them about that card they carried with them that entitled them to a free lunch. I don’t recall any of them being proud of it. In actuality, they wanted to be like the rest of us and bring a bagged or boxed lunch or pay for their own lunches. To put it bluntly, they were embarrassed. More importantly, their parents were busy at work to get themselves into a better position to no longer need that hand out. They were well aware of the stigma that went along with being on the Free Lunch program for their kids and they did all they could to change it.

Today, we seem to live in an alternative universe. There are more people receiving handouts than ever in our history. Not only are we offering free lunch but free breakfast as well. Some parents seem not only unembarrassed to be on the receiving end, many are actually under the belief they are owed what they get.

Huh?  Who owes you that?  And why?

When I was a kid, Unemployment was something you got for the shortest imaginable time until you were able to find some other work… any work. You did not hold out until you found your dream job or even a job in your chosen field. One worked anywhere doing just about  anything until that perfect opportunity presented itself. The idea of staying on Unemployment for two years was unheard of.  It was embarrassing to not have a paycheck coming in. When someone asked, “what do you do?” people were proud to answer the question. If one was out of work, the answer would be, “between jobs,” followed up quickly with, “but, I’ve got three interviews tomorrow and expect to be back at it soon.”  Nobody was proud to exclaim, “I’m on Unemployment.”  That would be embarrassing.

Today, many on unemployment are fine with it. Our legislators in Washington D.C. have now extended this handout for two full years and the system is so mismanaged that people collecting this freebie are actually punished if they get part time work to make ends meet. Another misconception of Unemployment is that workers pay into it so, “why shouldn’t I get back what I paid in?”  Well, you didn’t pay into it, you’re employer did. And, at two full years, those contributions are long gone. At this point, the government is just distributing money it doesn’t have.  Have you seen the federal debt lately?

The number in the U.S. getting the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP or Food Stamps) has ballooned to 45 million people. Forty-five million people receive money to buy food for themselves and their families. That’s a ridiculous number. Why is this becoming more accepted? I bet the government changing the name from Food Stamps to the slick SNAP program has something to do with it. Also, people no longer carry actual, obvious Food Stamps, they carry a card that looks like a MasterCard or Visa. The program was supposed to be a bridge until you got on your feet and regained the ability to feed yourself and your family again, today it’s a never-ending supplement. More and more restaurants and other outlets are accepting SNAP to pay for prepared food.

The government has systematically promoted these programs that deflate the hopes and dreams of millions of people. I couldn’t even begin to fathom taking never-ending handouts and expecting that’s all there was for me in regard to the American Dream.  Don’t get me wrong, I am 100 percent for limited and finite help for people in need. We are the most generous people this planet has ever known. But, when you are able to work yet collect Unemployment, Food Stamps, Welfare, Disability, free housing, free electricity — you are allowing the government to limit your ability to succeed to your fullest extent. You are, in essence, allowing the government to decide what your worth is. You should be embarrassed you’ve allowed this to happen and you should make a change. Problem is, just as as we see all the time when the government adds a temporary tax, once that money (or handout) starts coming in, it’s tough to stop it.

Some sensible solutions I would suggest:

  • Allow Unemployment Insurance to end, phased out over six months.
  • Allow the use of the SNAP program for a finite amount of time. Six months before implementing this would work well and ban the double dip.  If you’re getting food stamps, no free lunch at school.
  • Only offer Disability to those who are truly unable to work because they physically can’t.
  • Very limited access to taxpayer-paid-for-housing.  Again, I would max this out at six months.

Thoughts?

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