February 5, 2007
Entitlement is a Disease
is a disease, much like cancer. I fought and won my personal war against
cancer, but have thankfully never suffered from entitlement. If there is
indeed a divide in our country, as liberals in both political parties
are all too willing to espouse and exploit, it may very well be between
those Americans who feel entitled to guarantees of health care,
retirement income and protections of their self-defined class, and the
rest of us who have read the Constitution.
was founded upon the notion that government should protect individual
rights while individual citizens pursued their own version of happiness.
The founding fathers acknowledged in the Declaration of Independence the
self-evident truth that our Creator endowed upon us the right to pursue
happiness. The right afforded Americans is the pursuit, not the outcome.
Neither the Declaration nor the Constitution guarantees happiness as an
later, Martin Luther King, Jr. fought for the same principle. His
pursuit was not economic entitlement for racial minorities who felt the
cruel sting of discrimination at the ballot box and an unequal access to
economic freedom, but for the equal opportunities afforded all citizens
as envisioned by our founders.
Americans and too many political leaders currently ignore the founders’
and King’s shared vision. Instead of recognizing the awesome potential
within individuals to achieve their dreams and support themselves and
their families, power-loving politicians are spreading entitlement like
problems inherent in our health care system provide an instructive
example. Health care costs of all types are high because individual
Americans do not pay enough for their own care.
are subsidized by the government and employers, which causes gross
distortions in the health care market. Government created this mess by
enacting tax laws that actually penalize individual purchasers of health
insurance, and by enacting programs such as Medicare and Medicaid to
finance health care for those deemed by government as too poor to pay
for it themselves.
disastrous result is not only the fiscal cost to taxpayers, but that
entire generations of Americans have been socialized into believing they
are entitled to health care coverage.
legislating reforms to eliminate the tax burden on the self-employed and
instill free market forces and individual choice in the health care
system, liberals want to mandate even more employer and state-paid
coverage. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) is clear about her desire to
mandate universal health care for all Americans. Presidential candidates
Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama and John Edwards have made universal
coverage a centerpiece of their issue agendas.
to Grace-Marie Turner of the Galen Institute, the recently enacted
“universal” health care plan in Massachusetts, which isn’t yet in
effect, will cost nearly double the original projections. The
Massachusetts plan is pure socialism. Individuals must purchase health
insurance by July 1, 2007 or face significant tax penalties.
Turner notes, “State agencies will be checking on individuals’ insurance
status, monitoring their income to see if they qualify for subsidies,
and tracking individual health habits to determine how much they should
pay for their health insurance.”
disease is also spread by the class warriors who want to punish success
by taxing individual achievement. Senator Charles Schumer (D-NY),
chairman of the Joint Economic Committee, is holding hearings to find
“solutions” to non-existent fiscal challenges affecting the so-called
middle class. A February 1 Washington Post story noted, however,
that median household net worth grew by 35 percent from 1989 to 2004,
including increases in all income groups.
stated, “We have big plans. The party that can create a model
paradigm…will not only win in 2008 but could create a long-term
majority.” In other words, more entitlement spending, government
mandates and class warfare rhetoric might create long-term power for
Unfortunately, Schumer is not alone. In a January 31 speech on Wall
Street, President Bush stated, “The fact is that income inequality is
real; it’s been rising for more than 25 years.” With all due respect,
Mr. President, that statement is false. A recent study released by the
Congressional Joint Economic Committee found that from 2001 to 2005
there was no statistical change in income inequality. The president is
simply pandering to the entitlement addicts.
taught us that the constitutional protections of equal opportunity do
not yield equal outcomes, nor can government legislate equal outcomes.
As economist Ludwig von Mises once wrote, “Government can’t make a man
rich, but it can make a man poor.”
will not aid us in fighting the entitlement disease, because most in
government have a vested interest in perpetuating the disease. The only
cure is for individuals to educate themselves and each other on the
principles of free market economics.
elect a president and members of Congress with the will to reverse the
threatening growth of entitlement disease on the American people.
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