The Wall Street Journal informs us that nearly half (48.5%) of the population of the U.S. live in a household where someone receives some type of government benefit. When you consider the 46.4% of households that will pay no income tax this year, it appears that the U.S. is fast joining the European journey into Nanny Statehood.
It is true that the current recession inflates the numbers and, hopefully, some may be temporary, but the 34.2% of Americans living in households that receive benefits such as food stamps, subsidized housing, cash welfare or Medicaid will more than likely continue. Europe has provided ample examples of how hard it is to rescind entitlements and how angry people get when it is attempted.
The more ominous indication from this data is that almost half of the U.S. is now willing to be less self-reliant and less responsible. This is a complete turn-around from the attitude that built this country and class warfare (fueled by Obama’s rhetoric) is an obvious consequence. Those that ‘want’ always look askance at those who ‘have’ and the increasing number of those who ‘want free’ widens that divide.
The ranks of the current “Occupy Wall Street” protesters are filled with those young enough to have been conditioned to expect government entitlements. Although some demands and complaints from the protesters (particularly against the financial community) are reasonable, a few are formed by an entitlement mindset that is frightening.
Some of the protesters have begun making unrealistic demands that do not officially come from the “Occupy Wall Street” movement, but indicate a strong sense of entitlement. These demands include: a free college education, a guaranteed living wage income regardless of job ($15 to $20 per hour), a single payer health insurance system (banning all private insurers), an open borders policy where anyone can travel anywhere to work and live, and an immediate across the board debt forgiveness for all. That last demand is icing on the entitlement cake.
We seem to be at a point where we can either return to proven, successful principles or adopt European socialistic policies that are proving impossible to sustain. The 2012 presidential election may well decide which way we will go.
David J. Hentosh