We Need to Redefine the Word FREE
Credit: Ingram Publishing - Source: ThinkStock
In a few days it will be Christmas morning and people all over the world will be opening gifts and celebrating the day.
Let’s look at the gifts part a little more closely. One definition is: “Gift (noun): a thing given willingly to someone without payment; a present.”
Given willingly without payment. In other words you get a gift with no sacrifice or payment on your part.
Are “Gifts” Entitlements?
The gift is free to you but not to someone else. Someone else worked to earn the money to trade for the gift they freely gave to you.
In a way gifts are entitlements. Something of value is awarded to you with no effort on your part. Sometimes the gift, or entitlement, has value and sometimes it doesn’t.
Unlike gifts, entitlements often have conditions attached. In order to receive these gifts you must qualify for them.
Currently there are 126 government programs that give the “gifts” of help or monetary assistance to American’s and in many cases non-Americans.
But the end result is that someone gets a bill for these “gifts.”
There is a bill for food stamps, or housing help, school lunch program, Medicaid, etc. Somewhere, somehow a bill ends up on someone’s desk and has to be paid by someone.
Are These Gifts A Benefit To Society?
Let’s do the math. A business receives a “New Dollar.” That’s a dollar someone earned producing something of value to someone else.
That new dollar goes to the government in the form of taxes from the business and comes back into the system to someone as an “entitlement.”
The person receiving the dollar produced nothing. They go down and spend what is now an “Old Dollar” and it goes back to the government in the form of taxes. That old dollar produced nothing. It’s just being recycled.
It keeps being spent over and over again producing nothing. This is one reason the middle class has been stagnant. Too many old dollars in the system being recirculated not creating any new dollars.
New dollars are not being created because businesses are not growing at a fast enough pace to overcome entitlements.
Currently half the population of America is receiving some form of government entitlements or assistance.
Work vs. Entitlements
According to a Cato Institute Study “The current welfare system provides such a high level of benefits that it acts as a disincentive for work. Welfare currently pays more than a minimum-wage job in 35 states, even after accounting for the Earned Income Tax Credit, and in 13 states it pays more than $15 per hour.”
“In 11 states, welfare pays more than the average pre-tax first year wage for a teacher. In 39 states it pays more than the starting wage for a secretary. And, in the 3 most generous states a person on welfare can take home more money than an entry-level computer programmer.”
Is it any wonder why people don’t want to give up entitlements in favor of work?
Yet all these entitlements have a bill attached that someone has to pay.
Some Final Thoughts
Political candidates are making all kinds of promises and changes trying to get elected. Is anyone talking about reducing entitlements?
Does anyone running for office have an incentive to get people off food stamps or off welfare? Anyone ready to use that entitlement money for training programs or hiring incentives for employers rather than handouts?
Not really. Why? Because those are not programs that will get people to the polls. No one wants to give up the gifts once they’ve been received.
I hope you enjoy whatever free stuff you get this year. And whatever you bought to give to others. They always say — “it’s the thought that counts.”
But there’s still a bill for that thought.