Did you get YOUR “Entitlements” yet?

Entitlements, Charity, Helping Hand, Handout
Entitlements, Charity, Helping Hand, Handout

The Miriam-Webster Dictionary defines “entitlement” as:

1) the condition of having a right to have or get something;
2) the feeling or belief that you deserve to be given something (such as special privileges); and
3) a type of financial help provided by the government for members of a particular group.

The No. 1 definition would appear to be a theme for situations like those who have worked and paid into the Social Security system are entitled to demand the federal government keep its promise and pay that money back to the Americans who funded the program. Much like paying your mortgage and appurtenant bills entitles you to live in your own home; you earned that. The No. 3 definition is exampled later.

It is the No. 2 definition that’s a true problem — “the feeling or belief that you deserve to be given something (such as special privileges).”

Today more than ever, Americans live in a putrescent-fed, bloated culture where too many demand “stuff” while rejecting participation in earning same. More importantly, this group believes they are entitled because it’s a “constitutional right.”

It’s a pretty safe bet that the vast majority of the demanders have never once read the U.S. Constitution, let alone studied it. If they had, they’d be able to show where in the Constitution such rights are expressly granted. Cnsnews.com reported in August 2014 that out of a U.S. population (at the time) of 309,467,000 people, 109,631,000, or 35.4 percent, were collecting “means-tested programs” welfare benefits. If the “non-tested” recipients (Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid unemployment benefits, Medicaid) were included, the number would be 153,323,000, or about 49.5 percent.

Medicaid is “free” to the recipients. That number has risen significantly with Obamacare opening the floodgates since the 2014 report.

It is insulting and disgraceful for this federal government to have the gall to consider Social Security benefits and Medicare (that we paid for) as “welfare.”

A huge reason this erroneous culture exists is that self-serving, otherwise impotent politicians tell the masses they deserve and have a right to an education (now it’s a “free” education), food, healthcare, an abortion – fill in the blank.

It is a wretched shame that politicians garner votes to hold high offices, with all of the perks and benefits that the people they encumber cannot have. Nearly every “everyday Joe” could make the same promises with someone else’s money.

Factually, too many elected politicians share that same ill-gotten belief of entitlement.

They possess a high degree of disdain and jealousy for “the rich.” That’s anomalous because many, many of them are wealthy, and their $50,000-per-plate donors clearly are. Yet the mantra is, “the rich must pay their fair share.” (That would be the other rich, not them.)

The cry is a false one.

MarketWatch.com cites the Tax Policy Center in 2014 stating: “The top 1 percent of taxpayers pay a higher effective income-tax rate than any other group (around 23 percent) — nearly seven times higher than those in the bottom 50 percent.”

It is estimated from 2015 data by the TPC that 45.3 percent of American households, about 77.5 million, will pay no federal individual income tax (MarketWatch.com, April 8, 2016).

In addition, there are the massive payouts of earned income tax credit (EITC). The households in this category not only pay zero federal income tax but also get free money back. This can amount to thousands of dollars per household. EITC is the aforementioned No. 3 definition.

EITC began as temporary in 1975, but like every other government give-away program, it shortly became permanent in 1978.

Single people and those with no children can collect EITC. There are variances upward with number of children. It is worthy of note that there are flagrant instances of illegal aliens claiming a false numbers of household members; the program is not properly scrutinized by the feds. But that’s another commentary.

In 1975, 6,215,000 households received $1.25 billion in EITC money. As of 2012, the recipients reached 28,186,000 with the money amounting to $65.4 billion.

“Free college” and “high student debt” are entitlement hot topics.

The returns for the trillions of dollars the taxpayers have spent on “education” are worse than dismal.

In January 2016, the San Diego Tribune reported that the Cal State universities had a 19 percent 4-year graduation rate. Earlier this week, the L.A. Times said it’s 17 percent.

Newspaper sources cite that student debt is high due to students attending up to six years.

Gov. Brown and watch groups want higher 4-year graduation rates, suggesting such resolutions as reducing pre-requisites and remedial classes.

College remedial classes? Now we’re talking the depressing high school learning statistics.

What a wonderful culture America would have today if the heightened demands of entitlement were on the ledger side of John F. Kennedy’s “ask not what your country can do for you; ask what you can do for your country.”

Photo credit Chris Yarzab

Betty Arenson is a Valencia resident who believes in the Constitution in its entirety and that laws should be upheld and apply to everyone equally.