Thursday, September 20, 2012


Much has been said about "entitlements" recently, mostly by Republications seeking election by opposing any form of "entitlement program" offered by the government.  Most recently, the Republican presidential nominee was caught telling a rich group of potential donors that 47% of Americans "pay no taxes" and "think they are “entitled to food, housing, health care".  So there is that kind of "entitlement" being debated in the political arena.

There is another kind of "entitlement" that you don't hear much about but that I think is just as important to the national debate as wanting food, housing and health care, and that's the feeling among the super-rich that they are entitled to squander the earth's resources and otherwise do whatever it takes to amass as much wealth as they can for themselves without regard to the consequences on the rest of humanity, and without regard for the well-being of anyone other than themselves.

I was taught, "the world doesn't owe you a living" and I still believe that.  But I also believe that every human is entitled to food, housing and health care, and to the extent they can't, for some legitimate reason, provide those basic things for themselves we as a society, through our government, should provide them for as long as the need exists. 

I was also taught that greed and the need for ostentatious consumption are not characteristics to be proud of.  I believe that the more successful (and let's define "successful" as "rich" for purposes of this discussion) one is, the more they should look for ways to give back to those, including the government I dare say, who made their success possible.

So which "entitlement" is more harmful to our society I wonder?  Or to put the question in more basic terms, who deserves our charity more - those who cannot provide the necessities of life for themselves, or those who would amass unlimited wealth to themselves?  It's not a difficult question.

Maybe it will help if I illustrate the question musically - who is more "entitled" to public assistance, this guy:

or this guy?:

(No insult to Arabs intended - my point is Ahab's wealth, not his ethnicity.  But you have to admit, that is a pretty funny video.)

OK, maybe you still don't understand how the issue is being framed in this election so here's Jon Stewart to try to explain it to you - just click on the link and watch the first segment:

And if you still think ending "entitlement programs" only applies to eliminating or curtailing programs like Social Security, Medicare and food stamps well, you probably have too much money already or maybe you've been watching too much Fox News - either way, I'll never change your mind.

Hey, I'm entitled to my opinion, aren't I?!

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