Saturday, June 25, 2011

Is Entitlement The New Normal? Part III, Where To Next?

In the first part of this I posted about poverty and it’s effect on people. The second post was about how we got to the entitlement culture. Today the question is, what’s next?

As I said at the close of yesterday’s post, entitlement has become a belief system in our society.

This is the real problem. How do you change cultural beliefs? Do you? Is this what we have now?

One of the changes would have to come to our politicians and even to the political system itself. Our political system is set up to where politicians are not rewarded (re-elected) by looking out for the country. They are rewarded by giving their constituents what they want or, more accurately, keeping them thinking that they are getting or will get what they want. In other words, politicians in impoverished areas have made a living off of keeping their constituents happy, not keeping the country afloat.

Then we have the media. The majority of the media is not only liberal but many of them are far left. One only has to see how they promote the current inhabitant of the White House and his attempt to push the country towards socialism. Look also at how they supported the attempt at nationalizing our health care.

The media does not typically promote entitlements openly, there is still a small vestige of an attempt to appear impartial.

Their support is generally one of selective reporting. They choose which stories to run on a given topic, say health care. These choices are generally such that the positive stories get ran and the negative or oppositional stories get buried.

A person may say that they do not let the media think for them, they hear the info and make up their own mind. To this I have a tendency to agree, for most people. There are two problems with this though.

One, remember that many of the people receiving entitlements tend towards lower education, They were raised in an environment in which education was not respected. This is an easy target for the media.

Two, a person, no matter how intelligent, can only form an opinion based on the information they have. This is the real danger of a biased media. This is where they accomplish their goals. They are not clever enough to indoctrinate most people and they know this. Bottom line though is if they only report that health care is a human right, that the health care reform pushed by Obama will insure more people for less money, that they will keep their own doctor, etc, than this becomes truth. If they refuse to report the opposing arguments about panels established to decide level and accessibility of care (popularly called death panels), if they gloss over the access to illegal immigrants long enough for it to be removed, if they gloss over the provision of abortion funding against federal law until it’s withdrawn, then none of it’s in the bill.

People get their information form the media, we do not all have insiders in Congress to feed us info, this is what they base their decisions on. This is how the media controls the message.

Some in the media will go even farther and venture into actual cheerleading of a cause and ridiculing opposition to it. We have all seen reporters in the leftist media attacking conservatives as mean-spirited, hateful, racist, etc.

Look no further than the current Medicare reform attempt by Paul Ryan. This is an entitlement that few will argue against reforming. There have been many on the left, including former President Bill Clinton, who have agreed that it needs reform. The media and politicians on the left smelled a chance to score points though and attacked Ryan for suggesting that we reform the entitlement.

What was the message? Entitlements are good and reforming them is mean-spirited and cruel. Paul Ryan wants to deprive your grandmother of health insurance. There have even been suggestions, not so subtle, that he was trying to kill old people.

Finally, we have the welfare system itself. The recipients of assistance have to visit an office for their initial sign up and to continue receiving benefits.

These offices are staffed with like-minded people. The staff exist in these offices to assist the recipients to get what they can. They are there to make sure they get all they are “entitled” to.

They are pros at gaming the system. If there is a benefit out there, they will know of it and how to get it. There has even been plenty of anecdotal evidence that they will go as far as coaching recipients on how to tweak the rules a bit to squeeze more out of the system. Coach parents and their children on how to qualify for SSI.

So, we have a culture comprised of people who believe they are owed a living. They have been raised this way. They have been taught, both told by their parents and peers and had the behavior modeled for them, that they deserve these benefits.

We have politicians whose very livelihood depends on their constituents continuing to believe that they are entitled to this assistance. They therefore work tirelessly to re-enforce the attitude and keep the benefits flowing to them.

We have a media in the US that leans fairly far to the left and is comprised of members who believe that a socialistic US is desirable and within reach.

We have a welfare system that, maybe not through design but through practice, is rigged to perpetuate the culture. They too, like the politicians, have a vested interest in keeping the entitlements alive because their very careers depend on there being welfare recipients.

So, the question is, can this be fixed?

Sorry I do not have an answer, just questions. What are your thoughts?


Mustang said...

You asked, “Can it be fixed?”

I believe the answer is in the affirmative. The more important question, however, is whether we will fix it. In this area, I have far less confidence. As you pointed out, Paul Ryan attempted to begin a debate about two issues: the cost of entitlement, and the appropriateness of entitlements. There are two kinds of entitlements: earned and unearned. Earned entitlements include federal pensions paid to veterans by virtue of losing a limb in combat, and benefits paid to the underage survivors and widows of military personnel or first responders. We distribute unearned entitlements to people because of their skin color or ethnicity. In my opinion, we have a moral obligation to the first of these —and none at all to the second.

For daring to suggest it is time for a national debate on this issue, the left employed their favorite strategy: they shouted Mr. Ryan down; I am disappointed that he has given up the fight because by every measure, “entitlement” will end up transforming this country into a third world toilet. This would not be a problem if … as you suggest, politicians loved their country more than they love their political career. A pox on all their houses.

Z said...

Mustang, please, don't say "pox"..we've had tornadoes, floods, drought, bugs, ! but, you're right.

Chuck, yes, it probably could be fixed, but the mentality can't be.
I'm convinced of that, and that's positively frightening.
I'm so bothered and hurt by the truths in your piece, and Mustang's words, that I can't really address it much;

How do you take people who get freebies and tell them the country can't afford to do it anymore and then get yourself elected or reelected as a person with enough brains and integrity and caring to govern well for our country and us?

you can't. SO, what now?

Chuck said...

Mustang, of course it can be fixed - just about anything can be with time. The problem is the will to do it.

The real problem with entitlements is taking them away. This is what I am afraid of with all of the talk about repealing Obamakare. It will be hard to take people off of health care once they have it.

Z, Exactly what I said to Mustang. What politician is going to stick their neck out for this?