Are we becoming an entitlement nation or a self-reliant nation?

Welfare laws were enacted in the 1800s to give general assistance to the poor and underprivileged.  Over the years, more plans were added to welfare, as we now know it: food stamps, Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC), Women Infants and Children (WIC), public housing; even help paying utility bills.

This system went without many changes until 1996, when President Clinton decided to change welfare’s emphasis from dependency to empowerment on empowerment. In 1996, Congress passed welfare reform that Clinton signed into law, which required that recipients enroll in job training programs and work to collect benefits. This was successful in decreasing welfare roles: Between 1996 and 2006, the number of people receiving benefits decreased from 4.3 million to 1.9 million.

Unfortunately, not even 10 years later, the numbers of people on welfare has increased again to 45 million, an increase of 70% in 4 ½ years. Once again, are we returning to a entitlement culture, a culture of dependency?

Another growing entitlement is Social Security Disability, which provides benefits to 10.8 million people; 50% of those people have been placed on disability rolls in the past 3 ½ years. (The fact that I’m on Social Security Disability is one of which I’m not proud, but the good health ‘fairy’ didn’t stop at my door!) There’s a recurring 3 ½ year theme; hmmm.

Of concern to all Americans is the fact that our national debt is $16 trillion. This is an increase of $6 trillion in the past 3 ½ years from the beginning of the current administration. In 2002, 19 % of our gross domestic product (GDP) was used to support our government. Today, that figure is closer to 25%. The GDP is a measure of economic activity within a country.

This brings me to my conclusion:

Are we an independent self-reliant nation?  Or are we becoming a dependent nation? It seems that increasingly that the US of A is becoming a nation headed for dependency and increased entitlement and we’ve got some serious decision-making and talking to do. In what direction do WE want our country to go? Frankly, I like the principles on which our country was founded where government is small and there’s minimal intrusion in our lives.

So far this ‘election cycle’ we’ve had discussions about dogs on cars, eating dog, racism or not racism in this country, campaign gaffes and criticism. Mommy wars and wars on women are real; but there are other issues which ought to take center stage.

We should never minimize a race issue, but when are we going to have a real, serious and meaningful discussion about independence and self-reliance, the state of our economy and jobs-or lack thereof?

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9 thoughts on “Are we becoming an entitlement nation or a self-reliant nation?

      1. I think we have been entitled for a long time now. This is not necessarily about welfare though. However, I wish we would all believe that we are all entitled to healthcare in this country.

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  1. Miriaim, Do you think I’m ENTITLED to what you make, do you think I’M entitled to the fruits of YOUR hard earned for? I agree that each person in this great country should have ACCESS to health care, but I don’t think the proposed healthcare entitlement is the answer.

    As far as healthcare goes, I think ALL are in agreement that everyone should have access to the best in healthcare.

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  2. It’s difficult to draw any cut-and-dried conclusions based on Welfare numbers. Is it a nationwide attitude-shift, or are there other factors at play? To offer just one concrete example… In the last three years, my husband and I have had a combined total of twenty-five months unemployed–and that’s despite three bachelor’s degrees and two Master’s degrees between us, and a work ethic that had us both volunteering full-time (at the local homeless shelter) during months of unemployment. Was our enrollment in Medicaid and Food Stamps a sign of “feeling entitled,” or is the economic situation more complicated than that? 😉

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    1. Dear Kana, I started to respond to this much earlier but my routing morning got awry from me; oral surgery is routing, right? I agree, that there are hard-working people such s your husband and you do, who don’t feel entitled to someone else’s money. My husband and I are in a similar pickles. I’m receiving monthly checks from Social Security Disbality (and you ask ANYONE who receives SSDI and they’ll tell you that they want off the rolls.)

      My husband has been unemployed for 15 months and NO ONE here is hiring, so here we sit all day, him wishing his sole income weren’t for unemployment and day by day fighting the depression that comes with being a male and wanting to provide for his family.

      No, my reference was not to people who justifiably receive benefits. Where’s the money to pay for those who aren’t JUSTIFIED in receiving bennies” We just committed $2.5 billion a week to maintain Afghanistan. Let’s take that $ and care for the people at HOME who have fallen on hard times-and can justify it. That’s right.

      I have a problem with people who ‘game the system’ for benefits to which they’re really not entitled. The issue of student loans comes to mind. It CAN be done without assistance from parents-books about. Though I wonder if any folks have written about funding post graduate education. In NO WAY am I entitled to your money. Inadvertently and through my taxes I do fund Kana and her hubby for legit expenses and I’m glad to do it. But, the remarks of that woman in the GAO hearings that these people are ‘ENTITLED to their bonuses.’ No one is ENTITLED to a dang thing. It is good that we foresee that those who fall on hard times need a ‘safety net’. But, there is an increasing sense of being entitled to someone else’s money. ‘The problem with socialism is at some point you run out of other people’s money.’ SOMETHING gives rise to that statement.

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      1. Wonderful quote about socialism–and you’re right, the country is in a pickle. We certainly look forward to being OFF food-stamps and Welfare, but we’ve been terribly grateful for them in the meantime. 🙂

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        1. Kana, The quote was from Margaret Thatcher. . I think most people who receive entitlements (like me) would much rather be able to NOT. This country is in deep-doggy do; while I don’t advocate pulling the rug out from under people who need help from our government, there is enough wast (recent GAO incidents are indicative), there is enough wast in the government. Cartahena, Colombia.

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