Skip to comments.The 'Take Care of Me' Society is Wrecking the USA
Posted on 01/30/2012 9:51:18 AM PST by blam
The 'Take Care of Me' Society is Wrecking the USA
By MAUREEN MACKEY, The Fiscal Times
January 28, 2012
Youve played by the rules. Worked hard to put yourself through school. Youve gotten a decent job and you pay your taxes. Youre faithfully paying down your mortgage and saving money in a 401(k) all to secure your finances and your future. But now there are a lot more takers than makers in this country and the impact is systemic and long-lasting.
A prevalent new moocher culture is changing the character of this nation thats the core message of A Nation of Moochers: Americas Addiction to Getting Something for Nothing, a new book by Charles J. Sykes, senior fellow at the Wisconsin Policy Research Institute and the author of six previous books.
This has been the flash point in American politics for the last several years, Sykes told The Fiscal Times in an interview this week. In the wake of the Great Recession, weve shifted from a culture of celebrating and encouraging those who are productive and hardworking, to a culture where handouts, bailouts, freebies and entitlements dominate. You start to wonder, Why am I paying the freight for those who have been reckless and irresponsible, whether its on Wall Street or in Washington or anywhere else in the community? I think were becoming a very different nation.
Excerpts from our conversation with the author follow:
The Fiscal Times (TFT): With so many people out of work and so many suffering through no fault of their own how do you draw the line between real need and a so-called culture of mooching?
Charles Sykes (CS): Thats obviously the most difficult part, the gray area in the middle. Theres a distinction between needing temporary aid versus using a vast network of dependency as a way of life. Unemployment compensation, for example, is necessary for an amount of time. But when you start getting into 90-plus weeks of unemployment, hasnt a temporary stopgap now become an excuse for people to avoid taking jobs?
A number of economic studies have shown that the longer these benefits are extended, the higher the unemployment rate is. People make a rational calculation that its easier to stay on the couch than to get a job that maybe isnt as great as what they had before.
TFT: Isnt it a big leap to go from someone on unemployment to a wholesale expansion of dependency?
CS: If we have hungry children, of course we as a compassionate society have an obligation to take care of them. But I think were going through a massive concerted effort to expand the number of people who are dependent, who are looking to the government to buy them free breakfast, lunch and dinner, far beyond any reasonable definition of genuine need.
TFT: Is this new learned helplessness, as you describe it, a replacement for the employed-for-life, taken-care-of-for-life notion that many in earlier generations have known?
CS: Maybe. But ultimately the use of other peoples money and the vast expansion of benefits wont substitute for what used to be provided for by the private sector. You can certainly understand the attraction of the bailouts, the freebies, the handouts, the dependency for people who are nervous about the economy. But some politicians play upon this anxiety by promising things that are ultimately unaffordable and unsustainable. This endless promise that theres always enough money in someone elses pocket wont work. Its very seductive in some ways, but its not a solution to our economic problems, and its changing the culture and character of our society. Its not the self-reliance and sense of independence and industry that our nation was founded on.
TFT: You worry about the children and the young people coming up.
CS: Yes, I do. Other people take a slightly more optimistic view. They say the reality is that most Americans still have the belief of working hard and being rewarded for it, that we still have a middle class that wants to do the right thing, and that these folks dont become somebody different even if we are in economically tough times. Thats true. But I also see a new class of dependency. How many generations does it take before the younger people look around and say, Of course somebody else is going to pay for me.
Of course theres a bailout. If I screw up or dont save any money, it doesnt matter. I say were living on borrowed time. Weve drawn down the balance of our bedrock values. Once the stigma of being dependent is eliminated, more and more people want to be that way.
In America today we have a craven aristocracy of tax-eaters (in both parties) lording themselves over the rest of the productive people, whom they regard as mere chattle on the tax farm.
“Once the stigma of being dependent is eliminated, more and more people want to be that way.”
The ‘stigma’ NOW is associated with pride and self-respect for your own self-sufficiency.
Without pride or shame, nothing deters people from expecting and demanding something for nothing!
Maybe we should just adopt the premise of Nancy Reagan...Just say NO (to handouts). If they get hungry enough, they’ll work.
Maybe we should just adopt the premise of Nancy Reagan...Just say NO (to handouts). If they get hungry enough, theyll work.If they get hungry enough, they'll kill.
Which is what Cloward and Piven wanted.
Many people who are buying guns lately aren’t quite sure why....just an uneasy feeling.
And I’m still paying my mortgage, cell phone bill, etc.
Makes my blood pressure go through the roof!
Buy surplus ammo in thousand round lots. It keeps longer then food and you can always use it for barter.