Entitlement Programs Are Just That - Entitlements
I’d like to preface this article by stating that I’m well aware I’m probably going to strike a nerve from people on both sides of the aisle.
We’ve been raised in a society where government has grown bigger each and every year it’s been in existence. It’s continually overreached its bounds with its dirty, grubby arms.
It’s reached into our souls, pulling out the satisfaction of a job well done (AKA our wages through taxes) to fuel its never-ending expansion.
Originally, I wanted to do a piece that covered the federal budget, and our subsequent debt as a nation.
Then, I realized that that topic alone is going to be boring to 99.9% of you…
That said, I know the importance of tying facts about the pickle we’re in with practical solutions.
You’d think experienced lawmakers would start to come around and point out a few outside-the-box ideas, but they’ve proven to be too cowardly to touch them.
Yes, I’m talking about politicians on both sides of the aisle - Including our current president!
While President Trump has successfully lowered taxes for most Americans, the federal budget has RISEN on his watch - Not once, but twice!
The substantiation for this is that the government would’ve shut down had Congress not come to a resolution.
A government shutdown actually isn’t such a bad thing, as most ‘essential’ operations continue to be carried out despite it supposedly being gone fishing until a budget resolution is passed.
Getting back, entitlement programs began with the introduction of things like Social Security, which was signed into law in 1935 under FDR.
The notion behind it seems to be genuine: Give elderly Americans the opportunity to live the rest of their days without the fear of going bankrupt by having them pay into their retirement at the federal level.
As time went on, we added more and more entitlement programs to the pot…
Medicare. Medicaid. Unemployment. Disability.
The list goes on and on…
Before you start getting angry because you think you’re following my logic, I want to assure you that I do NOT want to do away with ALL of these programs.
Our parents and our grandparents paid into things like Social Security. They worked their asses off for 30, 40, or even 50 years, and they deserve to make back a little of what they put in.
That said, there are predictions that the Social Security Trust will start to have issue remitting payments to eligible Americans as early as 2036.
If you’re a Gen-Xer or younger, chances are that you’re NOT going to be seeing these pension payments without the Fed printing more money, and subsequently causing inflation on the dollar.
‘What’s so bad about printing more money, or a little bit of inflation?,’ some of you may be asking.
Think of places like Spain and Greece in the EU, or Venezuela in South America as cautionary tales of what hyper-inflating your currency to fund entitlement programs can do…
According to usgovernmentspending.com, here’s a pie chart breakdown with estimates of what the 2019 federal budget will consist of:
If you’re too lazy to look, an estimated 53% of next year’s budget is going to be allocated towards either health care (28%) or pensions (25%).
That’s nearly 60% of the entire budget!
There aren’t just a few different types of budget allocations for these two areas - THERE ARE THOUSANDS! IN EACH!!
See for yourself below:
Now, I know what Leftists are going to say to deflect:
‘Look what’s coming in hot at Number 3 at 22% of our federal budget - Defense Spending! Are you suggesting that we should cut back on military spending, as well?’
No, I’m not. Here’s why:
We are guaranteed three inalienable rights in the Constitution: Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness.
How can one yield any of these things if their nation doesn’t have the infrastructure for a defense of these inalienable rights?
We are still the mightiest military force the world has ever known. Despite many of both our government’s and our society’s shortcomings, we are perhaps the FREEST country in the world.
While, yes, a military motivated by the federal government may pose a lethal threat to its own people (see Nazi Germany during World War 2), we have protections within our Constitution (such as the dreaded Second Amendment) so that a tyrannical ruler like Hitler can’t just rise up and take our freedoms from us.
Last I checked, that type of totalitarian state hasn’t happened yet, despite what CNN reports on a nightly basis. I digress again, though :-p…
The federal government has done a marvelous job over the past 80+ years in making us dependent on its appealing but ultimately lackluster teat.
Retirement earnings? Health insurance when I get older, during a time where I will undoubtedly rack up quite a few medical bills?
Sign me up!
People wonder why the youth of today act so entitled, and why nearly half of them favor more socialist policies.
They wonder why many folks don’t want to work hard, and why they expect to be able to support both themselves and their families earning the minimum wage.
They wonder why there are women in poor areas having child after child out of wedlock, and teaching their children about how to game the system just like they did.
It’s because the government WANTS us to be dependent.
Lawmakers (particularly on the Left) want to give you free stuff!
That’s why Bernie Sanders, and up-and-comer Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez have become so popular - They want you to get what you’re ‘entitled’ to as an American.
Here’s the problem: We can’t pay for it!!
We’re in a MASSIVE amount of debt. I mean, buttloads!
If you’ve ever been in personal debt before (I can relate to that on at least a few different occasions!), then you know what you have to do in order to pay it down:
Cut frivolous spending, and
Do what you can to increase your income, so that you can afford to pay your debt down, pay your required bills, and save up so that when hard times hit again, you’re better prepared.
Here’s a Brain Teaser: How can the United States expect to pay down its debt when its budget continues to increase, AND it has to continually borrow money from geopolitical threats like China?
Here’s the answer in case you hadn’t figured it out yet - We can’t! It’s mathematically impossible!!
As a conservative, I’m sorry, but our President has to begin to prepare the public for what we need to do, TOGETHER, in order to keep this country booming…
Before our entitlement program’s funds dry up (or continue to dry up in other cases - See Medicare!), we need to prepare the younger generations for life without entitlements.
We need to become more of a self-reliant society again. Trying to fix everyone at once doesn’t work - It’s about fixing the individuals so that we can heal as a whole.
Want to know how to get people to work harder, and how to earn more? Take away their safety net!
Now, what about the elderly who are already taking Social Security? Or those on disability - Whether their disability occurred during military duty, on the job, or through a genetic condition?
Continue to pay them their entitlements!
Like I said at the beginning of this piece, these people paid into these funds through decades of taxation, or (worse yet!) with traumatic injuries suffered while either fighting for our country or trying to support themselves and their families!!
For the rest of us below the age of 50, Washington would need to set a cut-off date for these programs. It doesn’t have to be tomorrow. Or next month. Or even next year.
Give the public time to prepare for life without entitlements. Perhaps they’ll seek employment at a company that offers both a pension and a health care benefits package.
Or, perhaps they’ll start a lucrative business that will enable them to fully fund their health and retirement funds privately!
Ah, capitalism at work :-).
Instead of fully doing away with healthcare and pension-related entitlements, enforce stricter criteria on who will receive said entitlements.
The average person will value his/her job more, because he/she will need to make enough money, or they’ll need to take advantage of his/her company’s perks down the line.
This change can also decrease job mobility, which is a huge and unfortunate trend in today’s job market. More on that another time, though…
If we can reduce our federal budget requirements for health care and pension programs from, say, 56% to 26%, that’s a 30% annual savings on our federal budget.
What do we do with that extra money? Reinvest it?
Hell no! Have you not been listening?!
We use it to pay down our debt!
Instead of allocating just 8% of our federal budget towards doing this (as is projected in 2019), using nearly 40% of the federal revenue will pay down our debt a heck of a lot faster!!
The more we can do away with entitlements, the better we can make our country’s economic picture.
It will also end up doing a great service to our people, as it will force more people to take responsibility for their lives and make the American Dream work for them.
Remember, change doesn’t come from the group - It comes from the individual. Fix yourself, fix the nation!
God bless you and your family,
*Image credit to Mike Licht on Flickr*