Sunday, August 15, 2010

A Rant About Entitlement

I'm feeling a bit ranty today and my topic is about entitlement, or, rather, what people think they are entitled to. Maybe it is the near 100 degree temps, or maybe it came from a comment I heard at a gathering a couple of days ago. Anyway, here we go...
  • Just because you have a college degree, it doesn't mean you are entitled to a job. This was actually the comment that set me off on this topic. I was at a social gathering and I happened to overhear someone say he couldn't believe that he couldn't get a job, even with a PhD. Note to people with a degree who think they are then entitled to a job: employers look for people who can actually DO something. Generally the employees they are looking for are people with skills to make their business more money, a track record for doing so with other jobs, and the ability to sell themselves to the potential employer AND live up to their own hype. A piece of paper with your name on it doesn't amount to much if you can't help the business you are employed by to actually make more than enough money to pay for your employment AND make the owner/stockholders some cash as well.
  • People are not entitled to government/social service programs. It's nice that they are there to help people on the rare occasion that they are down on their luck but unfortunately, the more and varied programs that are offered, the more people think that they are "entitled" to such largess. They aren't. The funds for these programs come from OUR taxes and while I don't mind helping out people in need, I seriously don't want my tax money to go to programs that soon morph into bloated government entitlement programs that pay more in employee compensation than to the people the program was originally developed to help.
  • People shouldn't be entitled to seemingly never ending unemployment programs. Did you notice the pressure that was brought to bear on federal legislators when extending the unemployment program to 99 weeks was up for a vote? Many unemployed people felt they were entitled to this money when all they were really doing was postponing the inevitable, namely, that if they didn't reinvent themselves and develop/sharpen up their skills, they wouldn't be employable now or in the future.
  • Most federal entitlement programs such as Medicare, Social Security, agricultural price support programs, and federal retiree pension programs are so out of whack with reality, I don't know where to being. Basically these programs are convoluted pyramid schemes which, as we can see, are slowly crumbling due to the shape of the pyramid shifting. Decades ago when these programs were started, the few at the top who were receiving these benefits were being supported by the baby boomers who made up the wide bottom base of the pyramid. Boomers put copious amounts of money into these programs with the "promise" that they would in turn benefit when they got older and needed the programs. Fast forward to today when the largest generation in history is now moving towards the top of the pyramid and need to rely on a base of people who are a) smaller in number than the boomers, and b) consist of fewer young people (read: wage earning folks) than previous generations, and c) are putting less money into the system due to high rates of unemployment and declining tax revenue. Ayayay.

The bottom line is that people--you or I or anyone else--should never think they are entitled to anything. Maybe it was the way I was raised, but back then, there were no entitlements. If you wanted something, you earned it. Of course, back then, there were fewer material goods and many fewer entitlement programs than many have come to expect in recent decades. I think that the current economic crisis has opened people's eyes to the fact that although in previous years they were able to basically have the things they wanted--mostly because of easy credit and lots of tax revenue--there is no guarantee that the ability to have those things will continue into the future.

The easiest way to deal with this: minimize your needs, buy what you want with cash, don't spoil your kids so that they think that is is normal to have each and every thing they desire, continue to be valuable in the marketplace, and take care of yourself as much as possible. Think of government programs as something that would be nice to have in the future, but by no means think that those programs will even be there when you need them.

'Nuff said, end of rant.


  1. A fine rant. Nobody is entitled to anything but Life, Liberty, and the PURSUIT of Happiness. There are no guarantees. Nor should there be...

  2. Unfortunately many Americans live with this skewed sense of entitlement due to the fact that most of us grew up at a time when America was king and we thought we were invincible. Have solace in the fact that "karma's a bitch" and there will be a lot of people having a reality check soon. The ones of us out there that have fought tooth and nail for everything we got, have a bit of an advantage at this point in American history. I consider myself a trust fund baby compared to these people, and I am very happy I have had to work for what I have. Thank you for your blog btw, the information here is invaluable, and I have learned much from you.

  3. Woo Hoo! Bravo! I completely agree with your "rant".
    I think the biggest shock for people when TSHTF is that the government or someone else isn't going to take care of them. The "entitlement" riots are going to be ugly. Better stay out of my yard.

  4. How old was this holder of the PhD, Insight? If they were 35 or younger, I am certainly not surprised

  5. CNI: Good points. But with a site like yours, you gotta know you're preaching to the choir. These days I don't bother to rant. I simply go outside at night and howl at the moon. It does the same about of good.

  6. Thanks so much for expressing my thoughts so eloquently. No one is entitled to anything they don't work for and I would choose to help those that come across my path instead of having the government charge higher taxes and give to the masses. I find out peoples stories and if it moves me to offer a hand up then I'm all for that. There is no way the government can police such huge programs and many take advantage and few are caught.