Sunday, March 10, 2013
“The belief that we are deserving of or entitled to privileges”
Have we created a monster? We in America are guilty of falling into the same trap where the European countries find themselves. “Social Justice” is wearing away at our very foundation and the palace is beginning to crumble around us.
Somehow we have ended up with a large segment of our population who believe they are entitled to money or other benefits which they did not earn or pay for. The funds to pay for such programs come from one of two sources: taxes levied by the government on businesses and individuals, or from government borrowing. When the money is taken, by way of taxation, it is paid by those who earned it; and in turn, distributed to those who did not. When the money is obtained through borrowing, it is a future burden on following generations who must repay the debt and a current stealth tax because it has a tendency to devalue our currency, causing inflation (amounting to 26% from 2005 to 2012, per Office of Management and Budget for the White House – and estimated to be 41% by 2017).
Some examples: SNAP (food stamp program) cost $72 billion in 2011, which was up $30 billion from 2007 and the number receiving benefits have continued to rise since 2011, to now reaching almost 50,000,000. The total budget cost for “Food and nutrition assistance” for 2011 was estimated to be $103 billion. Unemployment benefits cover 99 weeks, which is almost two years. Unemployment compensation was estimated to cost $194 billion in 2010. Housing assistance estimated at $77 billion in 2010. Federal aid to college students amounted to $180 billion in 2012. During the past few years, the Federal Government has taken over the student loan program. Many expect this loan program to be a bubble that will burst in the near future, causing a massive loss/cost to the taxpayers. The EITC – Earned Income Tax Credit had a cost, in 2008, of $51 billion for 25,000,000 families. The TANF – Temporary Assistance for Needy Families was $28 billion in 2008. The budget shows estimated amounts for 2011, of $320 billion for General retirement and disability insurance, Federal employee retirement and disability, and other income security (excluding Social Security).
This does not list all social programs and has not touched on subsidy programs, other grants, etc. It does indicate a snapshot of the problem we face. “Social Justice”, or the redistribution of income, has created an entitlement mentality and is causing class warfare. Those who have adopted such a mentality have lost the concept of personal responsibility and replaced the idea of the “American Dream” with an expectation of being taken care of by others. Those with class envy no longer see the rich as an example to follow so as to also become successful.
This situation has created a political downward spiral between the two main parties as they relate to the financial well-being for America. Traditionally, though not exclusively, it has been the Democrats (or the Left) who have proposed and encouraged the expansion of the social programs into the modern welfare state. Politically, this has proven to be a successful strategy for gaining a broader voter base. One of the Founders of our country stated that a democracy will only survive until the people realize they can vote themselves benefits from the public treasury. (This is one of the reasons our country was set up to be a Republic and not a Democracy. Over the years, we have slipped away from Republican [not the party] principles and have transitioned into more of a functioning Democracy.)
As the entitlement segment of the voting public has continued to grow, the Left has seized upon the opportunity to gain a more permanent seat of power. They even advertise to get more people in the food stamp program. When people speak out against the situation in which we find ourselves, individuals who have grown dependent upon government to supplement or meet their needs worry that they will lose their benefits is Republicans ever gain control, again. So they continue to support the Democrats with their votes. It is estimated that half of the population is not paying Federal Income Tax and many of those are also receiving benefits.
This presents a stacked deck against the Right ever being in power to reform federal spending. Meanwhile, we are heading towards national financial ruin due to over spending and excessive borrowing. The path we are on offers no scenario where it all works out well in the end. We are in the fourth consecutive year where there is a deficit of over a trillion dollars with no relief on the horizon. We are borrowing around 45 cents out of every dollar being spent by Washington. We were recently subjected to a barrage of sound bites as to the “fiscal cliff” we would go over if the mandated trillion dollars of cuts (over the next ten years) were allowed to take place. It sounded like the world would end by the very next day. Reality is that the “cuts” are not overall cuts at all, but only a reduction in the projected increase in spending planned for the coming year. Only in Washington do we find that a smaller increase in spending is a reason for a financial calamity.
Instead of finding a way to better educate the public as to the negative effects of our current path and the benefits of self-responsibility, many of the Republicans are trying to out-promise the Left. This is a failed strategy if the goal is getting back to financial stability and saving the country. Abandoning principles is not a path to victory. The voters on the Left will not trust that you mean what you promise and will still vote for Democrats. Those on the Right will reject the Left-leaning Republicans and support those who are more conservative. This will split the Republican Party and the Democrats will continue to win elections and further us on this same path.