The Reformation Of The Entitlement Society

Who's Going To Blink First?

I personally don't care who blinks first - just get to blinking. As I read voraciously, I sometimes think people just don't realize how dire this budget crisis is. But upon examining the facts, I can sincerely say that something better be done and sooner rather than later. The "kicking the can down the street" crowd needs to regroup and step up to the plate. The federal government, in case you failed to notice, has been trying to be everything to everybody. That's fiscally impossible. It also isn't what our founding fathers intended its role to be.

We have bred the entitlement mentality into generations of Americans now which is unfortunate A freshman Congressman from my state of South Carolina, Trey Gowdy, paid a visit to some school classrooms over this past recess and asked the kids what the role of the federal government is. Here's what he found out. Most children think the government's role is to provide health care, Social Security and an education to its citizens. Does that speak anything at all to you about breeding the entitlement attitude further than it has already been ingrained into our society? What the heck is going on in our schools systems, not to mentions homes, all across this nation?

We also have a President now, in this time of crisis, who seems to not have a clue about economics, and he admits to that. His tendency to want to be everything to everyone is also apparent. He is sitting in the wrong chair if that is truly his attitude. Being the President of this country in these times has become a rather thankless job - damned if you do and damned if you don't. But he needs to take the lead in reducing the deficit, reforming the present entitlement system and manning up to the economic reality he has helped create himself by his reckless spending over the past two plus years. He has become part of the problem rather than part of the solution.

Entitlement reform has been the "can" that has been continually kicked and that baby has some serious body work that needs to be done now. "Whatchu talking about FP," you ask? It's past time for them to pluck their heads out of their third point of contact and see the light of day. That requires that one blinks. Not just one or two or three of them but all of them in unison. Over the decades these well intentioned "great thinkers" we call politicians, many of them who can't see past the end of their noses much less into next week, may have had good intentions, regardless of what political party they belong to. I'm so far past that point that the discussion becomes like a tribal drum beat. They together, in unison with the orchestra droning away in the background, helped create this mess so now use the same orchestra, if that is a must, and fix it.

If you are scratching your head and asking "Fix what?" you are lost. I'm not fond of politicians in case you fail to notice. One of the main reasons is once they screw something up, they don't want to first, recognize the screw up and secondly, don't seem to want to have the backbone to fix it. In short, they are a soft lot in life who think they can't do, don't do and never will do any wrong unless they stick to some idiotic party ideology. Most of it centers on kicking the can on down the road so the "other party" can wear the black hat when necessary.

Guess what? Necessary is here in full vivid color my fellow Americans. The Big 3 entitlement programs - Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid - consume approximately 42% of the federal budget. That is unsustainable and if left unchecked they give every appearance of dwarfing this nation's entire gross domestic product by somewhere between the years of 2040 to 2050. Give that some serious thought. We cannot just keep putting the plane of autopilot, someone needs to start sitting at the stick, get on the stick and fix it. That's just the Big 3 folks and doesn't include the many "freebies" we make people now feel entitled to. Though called "entitlements," the working people of this nation contribute our hard earned dollars into the coffers to fund the biggies, at least two of the three fall into that category anyway. Medicaid was designed to assist the poor.

Reality has to come into play. The reality is that the federal government has over promised over the decades to its citizens. Is that a big deal? You betcha it is because right this very moment the expenditures being made just to dispense the promised social security and medicare benefits to those they were promised to exceeds what the federal treasury is collecting to fund those programs. WHOOPS! That's where not seeing past the end of their noses becomes apparent. I am a baby boomer. We are now the largest segment of the population of this nation. We are also entering the retirement window after having coughed up trillions of dollars over the course of our lifetimes into those systems. Are you telling me that the wise sages, some of them have been up there warming chairs for decades themselves, didn't recognize that my generation would reach retirement age?

Instead of thinking clearly, they collectively have squandered monies that should have been held in "trust" on other things they felt were more important. For those who don't know, all of this started with Lyndon B. Johnson and his creation of The Great Society. Well guess what LBJ? What you created is an unsustainable monster that people have grown accustomed to and things down here on earth, in our nation, aren't going so great. History has always shown many of us that there is no free lunch. The federal government has failed to grasp that concept. It's always soooo easy to spend someone else's money, even if they don't have it, right?

As the budget crisis looms larger and larger and the national budget ceiling is rapidly approaching again, I'd say it is past time to institute some radical ideas before the ship of state goes belly up. Radical events are sometimes the cause to institute radical ideas. I don't consider a balanced budget amendment to be a radical idea myself but Lord-a-mercy to the "old ways" politician it borders on heresy. I don't consider revamping social security, medicare and medicaid because we obviously can't sustain the way they are working as radical. Old Geezer Harry Reid says there is nothing wrong with it and opposes touching the mechanics, though he added that he might consider it when he is 91. Why is that guy still warming a seat in the Senate?

Obama appointed a debt commission so that the appearance is given that he is serious about reducing the national debt and maintaining some semblance of fiscal solvency. The commission reported, the politicians ignored it and bam - the can gets kicked again, without even a blink. Look none of what needs to be done is going to win a popularity contest for people seeking re-election so they can continue kicking the friggin' can. But instead it gives every appearance of business as usual from Foggy Bottom. Politics, as usual, rears its ugly head and it becomes gamesmanship again of pointing their bony fingers at each other claiming that this party, or that party, is going to be the black hat wearer. But that surely isn't going to FIX anything but maybe some blame for the mess they have collectively created.

Congress, recess is over. You shouldn't ever recess again until you actually start reforming what needs to be reformed. I believe that the majority of Americans "get it." What is their problem? The hard line, business as usual crowd want to see if coming back from recess, after being bombarded at town hall meetings (for those who had the nerve to hold them anyway, did yours?) has softened any of the reformist message that was sent up there this past November? Don't hold your breath on that one. It probably had the opposite effect and has made the steely resolve even more steely.

On the political side meanwhile, it seems the Democrats are in a bit of a conflict. Now Uncle Harry isn't pleased as punch as 32 of his Senate Dems have joined hands with 32 Repubs in urging the President of the United States to take a leadership position and address a very much needed, broad based budget deficit reduction plan which includes reforming both social security and medicare.

Will someone please start humming the music to Kumbaya so we can get on with what MUST be done before we're economic toast? I'm just saying....

Have a good day and as usual...

Respectufully,

The Frog Prince

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Comments 36 comments

GusTheRedneck profile image

GusTheRedneck 5 years ago from USA

Hi Froggie (no royalty allowed in the U.S., right?) -

Well now, this is a fine article with its commentary well-intended and well-written. In fact, it is truly fun to read things wherein the language and the mechanics of everything is done in so craftsman-like a fashion.

If anyone should desire an entre' into at least one form of depression, a visit to any one of the "entitlement magnets" is in order - for example, a "free" clinic for Medicaid recipients, a community housing office, a food stamp place, and so forth. Standing room only and the places give one feelings of visiting totally disorganized zoos. I had thought to pay some visits with a good new Hub in mind. The first of those visits provided the cure for that idea. What a mess our country is in.

Gus :-)))


TheManWithNoPants profile image

TheManWithNoPants 5 years ago from Tucson, Az.

The middle class is fighting for it's next breath. With all the entitlements, the lower class lives better than the middle class. Let's get busy Frog. Up abd useful!

jim


The Frog Prince profile image

The Frog Prince 5 years ago from Arlington, TX Author

Gus - thanks for the craftsmanship kudos. I just try to tell it like it is. I hope people, more and more, are listening to plain old common sense. But in reality, there is no free lunch. Somehow, some way we need to fasten the latches on the lunch pail.

Jim - Being a middle class guy, I don't want a respirator thank you very much. I hope I'm not just preaching to the choir. People had best start paying attention.


rip van winkle 5 years ago

as usual fp you hit the nail on the head, keep up the good work.


poorconservative1 profile image

poorconservative1 5 years ago

Well done FP.

We elected some new clowns to replace some old clowns. But they just keep clownin' around.

Thanks

Chuck


rkhyclak profile image

rkhyclak 5 years ago from Ohio

Frog Prince, I'm so very happy you've come to Hubpages to share your COMMON SENSE, views, opinions and solutions to the God awful mess our country is in. Rated up and awesome.


The Frog Prince profile image

The Frog Prince 5 years ago from Arlington, TX Author

Rip and rkhyclak - I'm sure my presence has unsettled a few people but the truth is, was and always will be the truth. I wish I could make this stuff up but it is getting so out of hand that there is no way I could think of 50 ways to screw our country up. Thanks for your continued readership and comments.

pc1 - It's not hard to hit the nail on the head when it's so danged big. This is starting to remind me of the old song, "We're All Bozo On This Bus." What is pathetic is that we're the continual recipients of Foggy Bottom nonsense.

The Frog


Stu From VT 5 years ago

Hi Frog,

As usual, great post. I fear that only a crisis will jolt Congress out of its slumber. Sure, they can keep raising the debt ceiling. But ultimately, SS/Medicare benefits and inability to sell more T-Bonds to China will force us to inflate big time, raising the specter of hyperinflation and possible depression. The big question is whether the powers that be will wait so long that no solution will work. Obviously, the big social programs can be restructured (made alot less generous) so most of the off balance sheet debt can be cancelled. But the official national debt is investor owned. Default here would be a catastrophe. We would be locked out of world trade for decades. At almost $15 trillion, I've previously calculated we would need to run $800 billion annual surpluses (a $2.4 trillion annual swing in the current account) for 30 years to pay it off (principal plus interest), and that's under the highly pollyanna assumption that safe interest rates don't revert to their historical 9-10% range in the interim. What happens if we "kick the can" to use FrogSpeak and the official national debt grows so large that no combination of spending cuts or tax base increases can address it? Uncle Ben (and I don't mean the rice guy) will have to print money. LOT'S of money. Say goodbye to your savings, our ability to import, and most likely your job. It would be a repeat of the Weimar Republic. To quote the eminent Leona Helmsley, I'm just one of the "little people." If I can see it, why can't Congress and the president?

Stu


The Frog Prince profile image

The Frog Prince 5 years ago from Arlington, TX Author

Stu - Now I remember that your background is centered in mathematics. Thanks for putting it out there where it is easily understood.

Kudos!

The Frog


imjustmusing profile image

imjustmusing 5 years ago from Massachusetts

What people fail to understand is once the recipient class reaches 51% of the population, which isn't to far away, they will always vote for those who will give them more. The real problem begins when the working class decides it is better for them not to work as they will make more money doing nothing than they do working. The Government produces nothing.


The Frog Prince profile image

The Frog Prince 5 years ago from Arlington, TX Author

imjustamustang - BINGO! The failure to understand exactly what you pointed out results in lost revenue, not more. If you make it a disincentive to work harder for the producers of said work, they indeed will scale back. Why work harder for less? This country was founded on hard work, perseverance and having the opportunity to succeed. We need to return to those same principles.

Thanks for the insightful comment.

The Frog


Stu From VT 5 years ago

Hi Frog,

YW. My point about "pollyanna" assumptions is important. If long term interest rates go back to the 10% vacinity where they have historically stood, we would need to run federal surpluses of $1.3 trillion every year for 30 years to pay off the official national debt, plus interest thereon. Think what this means: we are currently running a DEFICIT of $1.6 trillion annually. We would need an annualized swing in the current account of almost $3 trillion! This is one reason I am so in favor of replacing the FIT with a 20% national sales tax. Not only would it raise alot more federal revenue than the FIT, but it would also exempt interest earnings from taxation, helping to keep interest rates as low as possible. This is critical to our being able to come up with a practical plan to pay off the official national debt.

Stu


Stu From VT 5 years ago

imjustmusing - Hit the nail on the head. You eventually end up with a society that mostly wants to live on handouts, and overtax the productive sector to provide the benefits. Where things break down is that when taxes get too high, there is no incentive to produce anything. What the libbies always fail to see is that you can't redistribute what isn't produced to begin with.

Stu


The Frog Prince profile image

The Frog Prince 5 years ago from Arlington, TX Author

imjustamustang and Stu - Looking back just not too long ago, Communism started collapsing because the people have no incentive to work hard because everything belongs to the state. I wonder how many people really take a hard look at the destruction of societies that both socialism and communism can reap.

The Frog


OpinionDuck profile image

OpinionDuck 5 years ago

Frog

Calling SS an entitlement is very misleading.

SS is a TAX, and it is mandatory on wage earners.

The fact that FDR used this tax with a weak promise for retirement benefits was the problem.

The government and not the people that were forced to participate in it are the problem. They knew that someday they would have to pay back some of the tax in the form of retirement payments. But they the Congress and Presidents since 1935 did nothing to prepare for that event. They just used and misused that tax money.

Social Security is not welfare, many people that have retired have contributed into the system for fifty years and some even more. When they retire and get SS benefits they still have to contribute SS tax if they earn a wage. After all it is SS and not a federal pension.

The government caused the problem but the government wants the people that were forced into SS to pay for it.

consider how many people actually never got any money from SS because they died before they could collect.

If you want to open the can, then start with FERS, and one term politicians that get pensions. Federal Employees can retire at fifty five and their defined benefits are guaranteed by the taxpayers. They even get SS because they also contributed into that. Did their employer contribute the employer half of the TAX?

My point is that this is just another example where the government causes the problem and someone else has to take the blame and pay for it.

Even after SS and Medicare, the Democrats unleash the 21st Century financial virus that would be like it in draining the budget.

Cut the size of government and the scope of their duties. Every government employee is a tax liability, and the bigger the scope the larger the amount they spend.

Replace the Income Tax with a National Sales tax along side the existing State Sales Tax, Make the federal employee retirement the same as retirement in the private sector, reduce their benefits to that available to the average worker in the private sector.

I know people will have an argument against these solutions, but the government is the one that didn't balance their checkbook, so they are the one that need to tighten their belt first.

An entitlement is not a welfare handout, it is more like the one or two percent cashback from your Discover Card.

A handout is not having the Discover Card and expecting them to still give you cash.

my opinion.


The Frog Prince profile image

The Frog Prince 5 years ago from Arlington, TX Author

OD - I'm with you but let none of us forget that LBJ was the wise sage who determined that the SS "trust fund" needed to become part and parcel with the general revenue fund.

His primary purpose in doing that was to finance the Viet Nam conflict. Don't forget that war was never declared. To call it a war is a misnomer, similar to now using "kinetic military action." They raped a perfectly solvent trust fund that we, the people trusted them with.

There are many reasons I say, "Never trust a politician." I was watching it as they did it and was as disgusted then as I am now.


Old Poolman profile image

Old Poolman 5 years ago from Rural Arizona

FP - Just awesome my friend.

In my mind, the entitlement crowd are like spoiled children. Once they have regularly received something with no personal output to get it, that thing becomes a right. Just try taking it away from them and you can hear the screams from all over the world. Remember "Peggy" from the 2008 election who was convinced that Obama would pay her mortgage payments and buy her gas for her? Who knows, he just may be doing that.

It is easy to give, and keep on giving, but a much different matter to take away. The day is rapidly approaching when there will be more "takers" than "givers', and our country will fail.

But of course you will hear that if the Corporations and Rich People started paying taxes, there would be plenty of money for the entitlement crowd.


The Frog Prince profile image

The Frog Prince 5 years ago from Arlington, TX Author

Old Poolman - Since the top 10% of income earners pay 70% of the income taxes going in, their argument doesn't hold much water. One part of the fix for entitlements is to revise the tax system and tax everybody a flat 10% on any income they derive, again not at all popular with the entitlement crowd.

Recently, we have seen, and are still seeing, the effects of having to take away what people had come to expect as their "right to have" in Europe. Some people have short memories my friend. I do not. The problem can be fixed but the pain will come but it must come and soon.

It's no longer a question of "if" but "when" if they don't start to reverse course.


OpinionDuck profile image

OpinionDuck 5 years ago

Frog Prince

LBJ another democrat misusing the taxes.

Thanks for the reply and that is why I say that the politicians and not the people need to pay.

OP

according to your statement SS can't be an entitlement because the retirees paid into it all their working life.

Maybe a definition of what you think is an entitlement might be helpful.

Thanks,


breakfastpop profile image

breakfastpop 5 years ago

Dear Frog,

Great piece of writing. I have to say I agree with Opinion Duck. Social Security is not an entitlement in my view. Every paycheck , we see our hard earned money taken out for our future. Now we are being told that SS is an entitlement. Not so. Welfare is an entitlement. The government caused this disaster by looting the fund. Now they are poised to loot the recipients. I honestly believe that if we went after the fraud and cut the duplication and waste in government, SS and Medicare would not be a problem. These programs are just easy targets.


WillStarr profile image

WillStarr 5 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

My wife is an RN who career-specialized in labor and delivery. As a direct result of the entitlement society, her hospital closed its birthing center because 75% of the mothers expected their babies to be delivered free.

A full 50% of all the births were illegal aliens from Mexico who came here expressly for a free delivery and an anchor baby.

Now she works in the ER, and once again, the majority of patients are from the entitlement class who expect free service and use the ER as their family doctor. And there's no one more demanding than one of these leeches.

It's time to start saying no!

Let the riots begin.


OpinionDuck profile image

OpinionDuck 5 years ago

Let's start by enumerating the Entitlements, and why they are entitlements.

My point is let's start at the source and not the destination. if we deal with the source then we can stop the process. Cut the head off the snake rather than the tail.

my opinion.


Stu From VT 5 years ago

Frog - the libbys never look at what ultimately happens in socialist and communist societies. They always fall for the "liberation theology" of the would be cult leader, only to be stabbed in the back with dictatorship after he assumes power. This is why Lenin called the masses "useful idiots" and Marx (rightfully) bragged that he could transform a democracy into a dictatorship without firing a shot. All you have to do is fool enough voters by whipping them up into a state of frenzy over imaginary enemies. Even Hitler, who originally tried to topple the Weimar Republic by force, came to the conclusion that it couldn't be done that way. He later realized that Germany's humiliation from WWI and severe economic difficulties were more than enough to attract followers looking for a savior who would extricate them from made-up enemies (Jews, capitalists, rightful payments under the Versailles Treaty, etc.). He simply raised enough dissent to get elected legally, and then imposed a dictatorship.

Stu


Stu From VT 5 years ago

Breakfastpop,

I wish your conclusion was true, but sadly it isn't. The official federal debt (that owed to investors) is about $15 trillion, and with severe fiscal restraint (a much broader tax base, and draconian cuts to the federal operating budget), it could be paid off in a few decades (it would require annual budget surpluses of about $800 billion to $1.3 trillion, depending on where interest rates head).

The much bigger dagger hanging over us is the ever so gently named "off balance sheet debt." These are amounts (special issue bonds) Uncle Sam owes to federal agencies (like Social Security, Medicare, etc.) to allow them to make good on their long term liabilities. The off balance sheet debt now stands at $90 trillion, which is 600% of GNP. We can never make good on it (no amount of fiscal restraint can even come close to genrating enough money to liquidate this figure). The big social programs, after some phaseout period, are going to have to be vacated, so most of the off balance sheet debt can be abrogated (ripped up). I know it's not fair, as so many have paid for so long into these systems, but any solution less draconian will cause national financial collapse.

Stu


Stu From VT 5 years ago

Will,

Did you see the video (I think Frog provided a link to it) showing a woman who was just ecstatic after hearing about Obama's victory, telling a reporter how thrilled she was now that food, HC, etc., were going to be FREE? It's not just the illegals who are looking for a free lunch. I think alot of the legal left wing expects it too.

Stu


Old Poolman profile image

Old Poolman 5 years ago from Rural Arizona

I would gladly pay a 10% flat tax, because I would know that most everyone was paying the same. If everyone was paying 10% we should have enough money to fund our necessary programs. That would not mean we still don't have to cut the waste, fraud, and duplication of effort. I don't believe SS is an entitlement. All of those who chose to work for a living have paid into this system most of our lives. As an employer I now have to match the employees contribution dollar for dollar, so I am still paying into the system. Had the SS fund not been ripped off, we would have plenty of money in this fund.


OpinionDuck profile image

OpinionDuck 5 years ago

Frog

I am going to leave this discussion, thanks for letting me participate in it.

~:}


partisan patriot 5 years ago

Frog rated up and useful

First question; what grade was the kids that the Congressman visited; the reason I asked is the younger they were the worst shape the country is in. If they were high school age there’s still a chance to possibly intervene and turn the next generation around.

Next forget this so called El Presidente’ taking any kind of lead in reducing the deficit; he is the deficit! This Karl Marx Act-a-Like never met a Social Program he didn’t like.

The thing that worries me the most is the Republicans once again seem to be morphing from the Minute Men we elected last November into Casper Milquetoast before our very eyes. One symbolic bill to repeal healthcare isn’t enough; defund the damned thing. Shut Down the Damned Government; if America blames the Republicans so be it. We at least have a chance of turning this ship around by defunding THAT OBOMINATION KNOWN AS HEALTHCARE. If we don’t defund it the ship sails straight over the waterfall and breaks up on the rocks.

This my friendly Frog is truly our last chance and the Weeper of the House John Boehner better realize it and grow a set quickly.


WillStarr profile image

WillStarr 5 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

"It's not just the illegals who are looking for a free lunch.

Nor did I mean to imply that. I should have worded it better.

We have an entitlement class here in the US, and if you want to see who they are, just visit the ER of any major big city hospital and you'll see them in droves, because they make up the majority of patients. They'll be the ones constantly talking and texting on their expensive cellphones while filling out the forms on why they are unable to pay. They're the ones swearing at the staff because the waiting lines are so long. They're the ones making demands.

And they're also the ones sobbing and wailing because one of their family members just got shot in some gang incident. They'll be the ones wearing their colors and flashing gang signs.

We as a nation should demand that the federal government put an end to federal entitlements, and that only the truly needy should be helped, and even then, only at local levels where we know exactly who they are.


The Frog Prince profile image

The Frog Prince 5 years ago from Arlington, TX Author

Will - A BIG AMEN to your last paragraph. Some peopl might need to get out more often. LOL


The Frog Princess profile image

The Frog Princess 5 years ago from Florence area of the Great Pee Dee of South Carolina

My frog you have dne another excellent article. Wonderful.


Stu From VT 5 years ago

Partisan Patriot - Correct me if I'm wrong, but I keep hearing about 65-70 newbies elected under the TPM banner to federal Congress, but I only see about 3-4 survivors from the 111th Congress and about 7-8 newbies actually submitting and voting on bills the way you would expect true TPM politicians would. It makes me wonder, rightfully or wrongfully, whether the TPM name is being overused (essentially stolen by GOP moderates to get conservative votes, without risking their primary centrist base by actually supporting the TPM platform). Am I seeing domething real, or just imagining something?

Thanks, Stu


Pegasis 5 years ago

Here is an odd little side note--to me at least. I have just learned that a couple of entitlements are that the gov'ment actually pays for the spaying/neutering of dogs and cats for medicaid recipients in many places (including some of our military), and the food stamp program and meals on wheels in some parts of the country pays for food for these pets.

Honestly, I kinda prefer this to the entitlements illegal aliens receive from the gov'ment... Problem is, in many cases, it is the pets of illegal aliens which are receiving this largesse.


The Frog Prince profile image

The Frog Prince 5 years ago from Arlington, TX Author

Pegasis - Now that made me get a chuckle out.


Stu From VT 5 years ago

Pegasis - Is there an "anchor pet" exception? :)


Pegasis 5 years ago

Only by extension--must belong to an anchor baby or its family....

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