NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 18: People walk past an Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) station, more commonly known as Food Stamps, in the GrowNYC Greenmarket in Union Square on September 18, 2013 in New York City. (Photo by Andrew Burton/Getty Images)

What is an enabler?

In the context of an alcoholic, and enabler often makes it easier for the addicted person to continue their unhealthy and destructive lifestyle.

While well intentioned, and believing their behaviors benefit the addicted person, usually the opposite effect is realized.

The “Unintended Consequences” of Being An Enabler

It’s the same reason we are told not to feed the bears or other wild animals. They develop a dependency for food from a source that might not always be there.

According to, an alcoholic who is protected from the destructive behavior of drinking by a well intentioned enabler will be less motivated to ask for help.

Has Our Federal Government Become A Super Enabler?

During the late 1800s to early 1900s immigrants flocked to the United States seeking opportunity and a better way of life.

They came with little more than the clothes on their backs. They had to overcome language barriers, cultural differences, poverty, and discrimination.

There were no food stamps for them, school lunch programs or Temporary Aid to Needy Families. If they lost their jobs there was no 99 weeks of unemployment, no workman’s comp if injured on the job.

No disability if you were somehow unable to work. No paid vacation or healthcare benefits.

The Greatest Generation

In 1998, TV newsman and journalist, Tom Brokaw wrote a book called “The Greatest Generation.”

The book describes Americans who grew up during the ten year long Great Depression. These same people went on to fight and win World War II then came home built a coast-to-coast highway system, modernized the automobile and farming and created a tremendous economic boom.

And amazingly they did is without 126 poverty programs, the Earned Income Tax Credit, 99 weeks of unemployment, or any other government help other than the GI Bill.

The GI Bill

The legal name for the GI Bill was, “The Servicemen’s Readjustment Act of 1944” and provided several needed benefits to returning service men who had served at least 90 days during the War years and had been honorably discharged.

Low cost mortgages, low interest loans to open a business, tuition and living expenses to attend a university, high school, or vocational school, and one year of unemployment compensation were some of the benefits of the bill.

Some Final Thoughts

I wonder if those who survived those tough times wonder about how they would have faired if they had all the entitlement programs available to today’s workers?

Or do they see government feeding the working bears and making them more and more dependent on handouts rather than the value of their own skills and abilities?

There’s an old saying, “The road to hell is paved with good intentions.”

I sometimes wonder which road we’re heading down and who’s paving it.