Entitlement America, Fiscally and Morally Bankrupt

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If one were to make the claim that America is fiscally insolvent, as I’ve made numerous times, one would then have to ask themselves why. While there is no one answer to this question, there is one ideology that underlies today’s reality.  The “Entitlement Generation,” a term thrown around characterizing today’s western youth, has more to say about America’s fiscal bankruptcy than any politician or campaign slogan could possibly utter.  Yet, the entitlement disease in not confined to western youth. Rather, our youth are only the latest victims of an ideology begun nearly 80 years ago amidst the wake of the Great Depression.  Four generations later, we are seeing its effects. Charles Hugh Smith comments:

“The entitlement mindset atrophies self-reliance, adaptability and flexibility, all key survival traits. If the government will “fix” our health, we no longer feel responsible in the way one does if there is limited government/employer-provided healthcare. If we expect our Social Security retirement regardless of what other conditions may be affecting the global economy or our nation, then we stop being responsible for managing our financial affairs in the same way as one does when there is no “guaranteed” retirement entitlement.”

Yet, few American’s recognize our current situation as an effect of the entitlement ideology, seeing it instead through the lens of the mainstream media and our policy hounds throughout Washington as a debate over the “social good.”

Ask any politician interested in maintaining his or her Congressional seat what surrounds debates in Washington.  They will quickly answer that they seek only what is best for America.  Best according to who? The Washington ideology underlying much of its policies such as stimulus spending – both from the fiscal side (government) and the monetary side (the Federal Reserve) – never ending tax cuts, or a perpetually climbing debt ceiling is grounded on the false notion of an endless line of credit.  We all saw that assumption severely weakened this year with the S&P downgrade of U.S. sovereign debt.  Despite a jobless recovery, lack of lending from banks to businesses and consumers, and a still-floundering housing market, their ideology has not changed.

Jeremy Bentham, by Henry William Pickersgill (...

The “social good” still sits atop the pedestal of Washingtonian rhetoric as not only something obtainable, but something that is real and quantifiable.  Nothing could be further from the truth.  If one were to place this false notion within the context of an already developed area of political economy, they would look to Bentham’s utilitarianism and its “greatest happiness principle,” which simply states that government should pursue such that produces the greatest good for the greatest number of people.  However, there is an inherent conflict embedded within this utilitarian philosophy.  Bentham also recognized the futility of measuring the “social good” without the individual.  Yet, his greatest happiness principle places the individual as a sacrificial lamb to the needs of society.

Utilitarianism is much the same as the entitlement ideology, except for one small development.  The latter is the next step in utilitarianism’s development.  Charles Smith stated, “The poisonous problem with the entitlement mindset is intrinsic to human nature: once we deserve something, then our minds fill with resentment and greed, and we focus obsessively on creating multiple rationalizations for why we deserve our fair share.”  Fulfilling the expectation and demand for one’s bread at the expense of another for no other reason than one’s entitlement is the basis of Washington politics today.  This is their philosophy and, contrary to rational expectations concerning the fiscal solvency of America, encapsulates their policies, campaign slogans, and empty promises for a better future.

Image via Google Images

The entitlement state effectively supplants the market as the arbiter of social relations.  An entitlement state creates bread lines, while a market creates factories that produce bread.  An entitlement state creates zombies that stand in those lines, breathlessly awaiting their next handout, while a market creates laborers who work in the  bread factory and who upon payment for their labor purchase the bread they produced.  An entitlement state creates animosity among the people, lest the government deem their neighbors needier than they, while a market distributes goods and services according the natural laws of any harmonious society.  An entitlement state is the result of an ideology based on self-neglect, weakness, and irrational expectation, while the market is the result of an ideology based on self-sufficiency, strength, and rational thought.  The entitlement state is crucial in establishing a statist government, while the market ensures a small decentralized federal government.  Essentially, the market is the result of a multitude of individual desires (choices made by free individuals) and thus has an inherent aptitude at coordinating society in such a way that benefits the most people in the most ways.  But underlying all this is the key component of any market system, liberty.

Life is freely given, but its preservation must be earned everyday.  Our politicians live in a world where their hubris is matched only by their want of control.  The entitlement ideology is taking hold, effectively bankrupting America both fiscally and morally.  Government would have you believe otherwise, yet the ideology underpinning their policies and programs will not change the nature of reality.  In fact, it is the market, and the market only, that preserves the natural rights (rights granted to all by virtue of one being human) of the individual.

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About Jeremiah Dow
I have a B.S. in Politics, Philosophy, and Economics with a minor in Economics. I finished school in 2010 and am currently working on independent research in various areas including political and economic philosophy, government, and history. I am also currently looking for work in research, particularly the social sciences dealing with public policy work. I aspire to a top-level graduate institution, but would first prefer some professional research experience. Some of my primary influences are Ayn Rand, Noam Chomsky, and Howard Zinn among others.

4 Responses to Entitlement America, Fiscally and Morally Bankrupt

  1. Pingback: Why America Needs to Kill Its Entitlement Ideology « kapitalcon

  2. Pingback: » The Biggest Issue

  3. Tom says:

    The natural rights of the individual are preserved by the Constitution and the Bill of Rights – it has nothing to do with the economy

  4. Pingback: Entitlement America, State of Total Bankruptcy | Fighting For Liberty

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