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Entitlement Nation


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Front Page Magazine:

So many Americans now look to their government expectantly for every need and desire that our system of entitlements has largely replaced self-reliance, industriousness, and independence. A huge segment of the population now reflects plodding mediocrity. To paraphrase author C.S. Lewis, we sought “a benevolent leader who likes to see people enjoying themselves, and at the end of each day a good time is had by all.”

Our founding principle of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness has been twisted to become a guarantee of happiness. Entitlement-spending by government is known as “auto-pilot” spending if Congress has little or no power to control it. Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid have long been on auto-pilot with expenditures over which Congress has had little or no will to control. Now nationalized health care is an entitlement. It has even been called a “right.” A Newsweek article last year quoted then-Senator Ted Kennedy (D-Mass) as saying that “we will break the old gridlock and guarantee that every American …will have decent, quality health care as a fundamental right.”

As the give-away Obama Administration and Congress provide more and more entitlements, we are fast becoming an entitlement nation. In time, this can bankrupt us. Erskine Bowles, co-chairman of President Obama’s National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform, compared the unsustainability of the federal budget to a “cancer.” He said also, “This is a challenge for America.” Democrats will slightly out number Republicans on the commission, appointed in February. It is to recommend putting the budget in balance (achieving deficits of about 3 percent of GDP) by 2015.

The Obama budget for fiscal 2011 calls for $3.8 trillion in spending. About 60 percent of it now is mandatory entitlement spending. Nearly $678 billion was for Social Security, $425 billion for Medicare, and $251 billion for the federal share of Medicaid. Some $607 billion is for other mandatory spending programs. About 5 percent of the federal budget now has to be paid out for interest on the national debt.snip
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