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article imageOp-Ed: My view on Entitlements

By Richard A. Heaton     May 20, 2013 in Politics
Entitlements have been a driving force in American government for a while, but are they harming America or are they a necessity?
There are those who believe that government programs such as entitlements (Social Security)will someday destroy American Character, I on the other hand do not believe this to be the case at all. There are those such as Nicholas Everstadt who argue that the value of entitlements has drastically risen over the past couple of decades and that there are now citizens who would prefer to take the easy way and get money off of the government rather than earn the money themselves from their own hard work. On the other side of the argument, there are many who would never substitute their own had work with government aid and that entitlements are a significant source of aid to those who are in need.
To back up the statement made by Everstadt, he says that in 1960, the total value of all entitlements disbursed throughout that year had totaled 24 billion dollars. This is a lot of money, but does not even begin to compare to the more than two trillion dollars in entitlements that had been disbursed throughout 2010. There are so many additional people who are receiving entitlements today because it appears that the value of labor is declining to some American workers. According to the author, there are now plenty more citizens who decide that everything will be okay if they lose their jobs because they believe that the government will take care of them. To Everstadt, this is not the ideal situation because not only does it cost trillions of dollars a year, but by having citizens rely on the government, they now lose some of their own independence.
On the other side of the argument there is William Galston who believes that entitlement can be viewed as a way of life and he states how “To be entitled to something is not necessarily to be dependent on it-at least not in a way that should trouble us.” He states that there are still plenty of Americans who would rather go out into the workforce and bring their skills to the world than sit back and let the government do everything for them. There is a saying “Live to Work or Work to Live” that goes along well with this. Working to live is simply doing enough labor to get by in life, whether it’s for food, clothing, or shelter. Those who are unemployed and receive such entitlements do not work to live because all of their necessities come from the government. Then there are those who live to work. These are the ones who do not only work in order to get by, but they love what they do. Whether they are a doctor and they love helping people or they are a businessman and they love selling. There are still a lot of these “Live to work” people out there who do not let the term “free money” corrupt their minds because they would not want to give up what they love doing.
That is the kind of person that I would like to think that I am, one of the “live to work” people. If something drastic happens and I am forced to lose my job, join some sort of government program and gain entitlements, I would because I would probably have no other option and it would be impossible to know if my circumstance would get better in the future. However, if I have an opportunity, I would do my best to not let greed and corruption influence my decision. I would stick with what I love, working on my own, being independent, and not needing government aid.
To me, entitlements are not corrupting America. Today, it is those individual people who are already corrupted and greedy that are taking advantage of the government for their own personal gains, whether it’s for more money in addition to what they make, or it’s to receive money for not doing anything at all. Entitlements are fine for those who need and deserve it, but not for those who pretend to be in need.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of
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