Published May 20, 2011
Our week-long theme of “Entitlement Nation: Makers vs. Takers” is built around the idea that this nation, which was founded on an individualist and entrepreneurial spirit, has become one where people have become takers, not makers. For the first time in our history, we can be criticized for caring more about ourselves and our generation than our children, as evidenced by the soaring debt we have. That’s best seen at the government level, where spending comes in far above income.
It’s evident in the private sector, too. Unions will deprive future generations jobs just to maintain lavish benefits and pay, despite the bad economy. Companies, too, will make short-sighted decisions to get their hands on government subsidies, even if those decisions don’t help their bottom line.
The numbers are stark. Right now, 20 cents of every dollar of American’s income comes from a government payment. For the first time since the Great Depression, government payouts to households exceed tax receipts. That’s not surprising, because more and more people don’t actually pay income taxes anymore. They just take.
And it will get worse. Programs like the massive health-care reform law will put more people in government-controlled health plans. And, for all the talk about cutting costs, big programs like Social Security remain hands-off.
Some want Americans weaned off the government’s spigot, but it is easier said than done. A surprisingly high percentage of citizens derive the majority of their wealth from public-sector payments. It takes a rare form of political courage for a sitting government to cut off that flow to a constituency so grateful as to almost guarantee they continue that government in office.
It’s a vital story to all Americans. Starting on Monday, May 23, we’ll explore it all week on FOXBusiness.com.