Entitlements are immoral

Paying with EBT cardWhy work anymore? Let’s all lay around the house with our families and then head out with our friends for eats and partying on our new welfare debit card.

America has reached a crisis of entitlements, and I smell the stench of decay over the republic. Entitlements corrupt. Free stuff saps initiative. Accepting something of value that is unearned is unethical unless freely given.

But entitlement recipients don’t seem to care. Many of them have no shame and delude themselves into believing it’s some sort of game that they’re good at, like the welfare moms who pop out a new baby annually to multiply their child-care checks.

Government entitlements fall into two categories, one good and the other not good. Entitlements paid for by the recipient, like Social Security, are the good kind. In fact, it’s an insult to call Social Security benefits “entitlements.” Entitlements paid out of other people’s pockets, like welfare, are where the problems lurk.

Why work hard anymore if the fruits of your labor will be confiscated and given to people who haven’t earned them? Entitlements have crossed the line — they are as much evil as helpful.

Entitlements started out sensibly — to help the truly needy get back on their feet. But they morphed into an industry for liberal causes. They became a way to buy votes by giving away “free” stuff. They became a tool for liberals, mostly federal Democrats, to stay in office to perpetuate personal power and liberal programs.

Viewed in that light, entitlements are immoral. They are immoral in another way, too: They cause addiction and dependency. To many, avoiding work has become more pleasurable than the satisfaction of working and earning your keep. Why subject yourself to the annoying chore of getting up in the morning and trudging off to a job when you can live off the money made by others?

Instead of being a productive citizen and holding your head high, you can stroll over to your local welfare office and sign up for an Electronic Benefit Transfer welfare debit card. The card allows you to shop at local “underground” grocery stores, where you can use the plastic money to fill your shopping cart (in most states) with prime steaks, booze and cigarettes. And then the welfare queens can use their card to slip over and get their nails done at the local salon, while the welfare kings head down to use their cards at the casino and tattoo parlor.

Quite the life, dedicating oneself to a culture of dependence that rewards the lazy behavior of those dependent on other people’s money. Worse, this lifestyle scuttles the pursuit of happiness: In all my life, I have never known a dependent personality who was a happy personality.

By elevating the entitlement game to a life science, the liberals have long passed the point of filling needs. They’ve moved to the business of fulfilling “wants.” Even worse, the liberals are not ashamed of their behavior, even though they know satisfying “wants” buys lots more votes. I say erecting barriers to self-esteem to get votes is bargaining with the devil.

In 2012, food welfare giveaways totaled $75 billion, distributed to 51 million Americans. Over half of Americans now receive some form of entitlement, benefit or compensation from government. So the takers are the new majority, and the givers are now in the minority. The fault lies with the liberal political class over the last few decades. These are the same idiots who turned Social Security into a Ponzi scheme and twisted welfare to the needy into political control for themselves. The result is that national solvency is spiraling downhill.

Government should not subsidize stupid personal decisions. The true test for whether we can exit this government-created entitlement epidemic is whether American voters and political contributors have the wisdom to see through the travesty and withhold votes and funding from congressional and presidential candidates who don’t support entitlement and deficit reduction.

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About John R. Smith

John R. Smith is chairman of BIZPAC, the Business Political Action Committee of Palm Beach County, and owner of a financial services company.

  • Chance Hammond

    Rather than being concerned about the "fiscal cliff", we should have been far more concerned about the "entitlement cliff". Entitlement spending these days is so high that the costs are almost as much as total federal revenues, if we add in the interest on the national debt. We can't sustain this. Today, the federal government borrows 40 cents for every dollar it spends, because that's the only way they have enough money to pay for the rest of what government does.

  • KB Cook

    Unconstitutional Entitlements have deep roots in our Constitutional Republic. The Plymouth Colony jettisoned their socialist ways not many years after they settled as a community. The system didn't work for them, either.

  • Marc Mooney

    "I smell the stench of decay over the republic." Wow. I smell a hypocrite. And you dared trot out the welfare queen metaphor, an olden goldie from the Reagan era. It took a Democrat to reform welfare John. And that stench you smell is the decay of a nation addled by financial services such as yours. Take the challenge John: pledge publicly that you will not accept medicare and social security, that you will give them back to the federal government. Then I'll believe your argument isn't anything but self-serving hypocrisy.

  • John S

    Nice try, Marc Mooney, but you fail to comprehend the difference between social security and medicare. Those are programs that the recipient paid into over his/her working lives. The entitlements the author is referring to are those that are used by the takers, those who have contributed nothing. Big difference. Surely even a liberal like yourself can see that…..or can you?

  • Karl Dickey

    John,

    Then you would agree corporate welfare is the bad kind of entitlement?

  • seazen

    This column ought to be enshrined as Testament to the supreme, callous arrogance of those who believe they are truly entitled to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness in this country as well as its weath. Broad swipes at millions of American who have long struggled far, far from the privileged environment of those born into the upper strata with all the benefits that brings and who have no clue what it means to be poor, to live in poor neighborhoods, to not have access to private schools, country clubs, a new car when you turn 18, and the best health care money can buy is obscene. I gather that Mr. Smith believes that this country was not founded to assure that ALL of its citizens had the same set of basic entitlements and that it really was created for the benefit of the lords and ladies of the land. It is the epitome of a class that has come to embrace an idea that "it is all about me" and who embrace the litany that "he who dies with most toys, win!"

  • Lael

    The average American family's net worth dropped almost 40% between 2007 and 2010, according to a triennial study released in June 2011 by the Federal Reserve. The stunning drop in median net worth indicates that the recession wiped away 18 years of savings and investment by families. Many of these families are the former middle class families (some of us are even Republicans *gasp*) who, due to the predation of the financial services sector upon America's citizens, have now been foreclosed and downsized into underpaid, no-benefits employment. I suspect many readers of this blog are thankful for a little help in the form of government benefits to get through the change in their economic circumstances.

    • michael

      No one forces you to take out a mortgage you could not afford. No one made you take a low wage job.

      People's net worth has collapsed in the obama economy. Continued government spending will only keep the economy in the obama recession.

      • Lael

        ? After being laid off or downsized and many months of searching for a horizontal career move, those of us who prefer to work are willing to take a low wage job than remaining unemployed with dwindling hopes of landing a higher wage job. Most foreclosures today are not due to people taking out mortgages they couldn't afford. Most are due to mortgage servicers revoking in-place modifications, unnecessary, inflated, and impermissible force-placed property insurance, misapplication or holding of payments in suspense accounts, and other mortgage servicer misconduct.

        The stereotypes in the blog post are not representative of a large swath of hard working, respectable American citizens, who depend on government benefits. Many veterans, seniors, and Christian families are struggling to provide basics for themselves and their families. In fact, 1.5 million veteran households are using SNAP (food stamps). The sharp increase of veterans or other military families relying on food stamps is right in line with what is happening across the board: more families are struggling to make ends meet because of the recovering economy and families who may have never needed assistance before are looking for help.

  • michael

    Social security is not a good entitlement. It is not paid out by the money paid in by thew recepient.

    Rather it is paid with the taxes of current working people. It's a transfer of money from working clas

    Americans to wealthy retirees to pay for snowbirds to own retirement homes,

    eat out daily in restaurants and take cruise vacations.

  • Charlie

    Great article! Well said and sadly so true.

  • Joe Budd

    Good article John! As someone already mentioned, corporate welfare is a major problem as well. I've made no secret about a business failure that put me on welfare 22 years ago. I still have my card today as a reminder of a time in my life that I never want to return. The dirty looks my wife used to get dressed nicely (because she sewed) using the welfare stamps to buy food are replaced by high fives today. I was too embarrassed to go shopping. The stigma is gone. The system is a way of life now. People used to want a hand up, opportunity, the Republican way. Now they are willing to be bought with the hand outs, slavery, the democrat way. Too bad for America.