American Entitlement

In my advancing years I am looking for new and better ways to be “of service” and how I can be a productive member of society in the long-term.  It will not be long before I am “entitled” to Medicare, but I am at odds over being deserving.  While it is true that I have paid into this program my entire adult life, I have a pretty good insurance policy that will see me through the rest of my life, provided I continue to pay into it, which I will.  This entitlement called “Medicare” seems a bit redundant to me although I confess to not knowing a lot about it.  It is my hope I will never find the need to figure it out for any personal use.

I never got an allowance, and to be perfectly honest, the concept of such a thing when I was a kid was totally foreign to me.  True, I begged money from my parents from time-to-time, but once I figured out how I could earn it for myself, in general I stopped asking.  And so, from about age 12 onward I always had ways to putting money in my own pocket without my parents help.  This concept seems relatively lost on today’s generation.  Why is that?  Why do they feel entitled to an allowance and a whole lot more?  I suspect a lot of the blame lies in my generation’s permissiveness.

Once again this year I have to send the government money to pay for my federal and state taxes.  Consider that I am living off social security and a modest retirement plan.  I do not begrudge the government a cent of this money.  It seems to me the benefits I have reaped far outdistanced anything I have paid in taxes.  Having lived in, and visited, several dozen foreign countries, I can attest to the fact that we have things better than anyone else in the world.  But I do not understand why paying your fair share is such a hard concept for the Republican party to get its arms around.  They seem to be the party of tax loop-holes and unequal levying of taxes on individual.  This goes back to millionaires, and billionaires, who literally figure out how to pay nothing, or very little, it taxes, while low and middle-income families are required to pay anywhere between 15 and 28% of their gross income.  The entitlement of the rich is astounding.

The Reagan administration was the champion of laissez faire when it came to corporate and financial America.  It was, in their minds, somehow un-American to make them answerable for their actions.  When Wall Street imploded in 2007, so adept was Wall Street at double-talking, they invented the phrase “too big to fail” which was, and is, a euphemism, bail me out and do not hold me responsible even though I have acted anywhere from irresponsible to absolutely criminal.

I have this strange believe that with the entitlements one gets just from being born in America, goes a responsibility to serve, at least for a little while, at the federal, state, or local level.  I chose the military to do that.  People these days love to criticism the military and lump it together as the “military-industrial complex.”  To be certain, industrial America is, and unfortunately, always has taken advantage of defense dollars and spending them as if they need not worry about responsibility for responsible spending.  I am not now, nor have I ever been, a part of that.  I chose to serve on active duty in the army for 11 years, another 4 in the national guard, and have just recently returned to a unit of the Massachusetts State Militia known as the Massachusetts State Defense Force.  For my participation in this organization I am paid absolutely nothing except when ordered to duty by the governor.  I do this because I feel responsible and this is how I respond.

The only things I feel entitled to are those things I have worked for and earned.   If I have to pay higher fares to keep the MBTA running, fine.  Do not misunderstand, I want its debt to be brought under control, but in the meantime, I will pay my way.  If I have to pay a little more in federal taxes to improve the condition of the roads I drive on, so be it.  What I expect in return from congress is a more responsible approach to the letting of contracts.

I want an end to all corporate welfare, without exception.  Corporate America should be entitled only to equal protection under the law, but no financial compensation for being in business.


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