Entitlement Abuse

The state of affairs in the United States today presents a dilemma.  On one hand, we have hundreds of thousands of people losing their jobs.  Expectantly, they are coming up short on their mortgage payments and other monthly expenses.  On the other hand, we have, and this is not a new phenomenon, too  many people who simply consider themselves “entitled.”  Despite our current dire circumstances, these people, in good times as well as bad, have always placed themselves above the greater good and have manipulated the system for their own benefit.

Let me cite some examples.  There are many advertisements in our media for people who legitimately owe the IRS back taxes, penalties and interest.  Lawyers offer many come-ons that will allow the debtor to settle all claims for a very small portion of what is actually owed.  It appears the IRS settles for the lesser amount because they would rather have some money than none at all.

Likewise, many attorneys and credit mavens advertise that they will get a person’s credit card debt paid off for a fraction of its real worth.  How come, if a person spent so much money (obviously irresponsibly) to rack up a huge credit card balance, they have the option of paying back only about 10%?  How come they get to keep all the merchandise that they purchased with someone else’s money?  Perhaps I am too naive in believing that these scams actually come to fruition.  However, the credit card companies, like the IRS, are glad to have some revenues rather than none at all.

The “entitlement” that I take issue with most is when elderly folks and their offspring expect the government to pay for their nursing home care and/or round-the-clock care.  There are many advertisements and seminar invitations for people to learn about how to protect their own nest eggs, hide their assets and get public funds to pay for their long term care.  It is one thing to not have the financial capability to cover one’s needs.  It is entirely another thing to have the assets, yet seek coverage by public agencies.  Not only is this a cavalier misuse of public funds, but also it is an outright fraud.  No effort was made by the families to purchase long term care policies to head off these exact circumstances that they are experiencing.  Of course not; that would have required a personal capital outlay.  Not an option.  After all, they are entitled.  Yes, people get old and need varying levels of care.  But there are options available  that can be researched and planned in advance and to do otherwise is negligent.

I am equally ired by the practices of some of our seniors who overuse their Medicare benefits, or misuse them for social interaction.  Medicare is not a “free” service;  we all pay through our payroll taxes to cover this much needed benefit.  However, if our current beneficiaries deem themselves so entitled that they use the system flamboyantly and carelessly, then there will not be anything left for future generations.  Thus, this entitlement becomes an ugly, selfish con game, a Ponzi scheme, that is destructive to our society as a whole.

Furthermore, it is an outrage and affront to those of us who abide by the laws, pay out of our own pockets for the proper insurance and have real hardships. When people settle their credit card bills by paying only 10%, it is all the honest people who pay the price.  We have to pay higher credit rates so that the credit card companies can make a buck to make up for the loss of revenue they sacrificed by accepting only 10% from the entitled.  The same holds true for the nursing home patient.  Our parents may pay top dollar to compensate for the low, government disbursements that so many patients are receiving.  Our Medicare system  might not exist for us or our children in the future because current users are sometimes overusing and abusing the system.  On all of these fronts, there does not seem to be a consideration of the next person in line.  The only concern is for one’s own immediate entitlements.

This is the crossroads where we are at now: personal responsibility versus real need.  To those people who require unemployment benefits and disability, our safety net is there for them.  To all those takers, the self-anointed ones who consider themselves entitled to public funds so that they can preserve their own savings, I say “Enough.”  The discovery and determination of who should get what benefits is a thin line to tread.  We must, however, figure out what need is real and what need is bilking the system.  If we ignore this abuse of entitlement, the entire system may come crashing down.

POSTSCRIPT:

Do read David Brooks’ Op-Ed piece from The New york Times today:

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/01/27/opinion/27brooks.html?hp

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One Response to “Entitlement Abuse”

  1. marabella Says:

    think about this in the context of Brooks’ op-ed – he is such a tool.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2009/01/27/opinion/27brooks.html?th&emc=th

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