Entitlements??

February 6, 2020

I already know that I’m not going to make friends on this blog article. The word “entitlements” is charged without even knowing the perspective or specific contextual meaning. Usually, we use the term Entitlements to mean benefits that one earns through working and paying into a system such as for social security retirement or Medicare insurance. After working for 40 years, and paying for 40 credits (quarters), one earns the right to have benefits paid out in the form of a social benefit payment known as social security. However, if one is disabled and by definition can’t work, one is entitled to claim benefits after as little as five years. That is, in our great country, we pay people social security disability after just a few years of working versus the full 40 years if they are able bodied.

So why am I bringing this up? Well, I have a friend that wants to retire and is complaining that he might have to work a couple  more years rather than retire now in order to help his family – disabled sister and invalid Mom out for a bit. But let’s look a little deeper. The family has resources that they are not using or wish to keep for later. So rather than sell one of their two properties (a home in an affluent city neighborhood as well as a vacation home in the outer banks) to take care of the disparity in their finances, they want to just live off of the government. My friend is complaining that the amount of money that his sister gets from food stamps which was reduced from $300 per month to $260 is outrageous (as he puts it) and so unfair. This is in addition to the money she gets for social security disability. Now I certainly am sorry that she can’t work and that she is caring for her daughter and yes, it’s difficult to eat well on that money. But I can also tell you that I’ve gone through tough times in my life, when I was starting my life coaching business and was living pretty meagerly. Sometimes one has to do that. What I’m hearing from him is that his family doesn’t want to give up anything, and that the government should take up the slack. He’s furious with the President, since of course it’s all Trump’s fault for his current situation. If it were me, I’d sell one of the properties, accept that the vacation home is a luxury that isn’t affordable in the current climate and then live comfortably with the money one gains. No, unfortunately, he doesn’t agree (and I didn’t actually say that only thought it).

Why do people think the government should take care of everyone to such an extent that family should never have to help out? Who is the government but us individuals who pay taxes into a system? At what point are we paying for a lot of other people to live well because their families don’t want to help them? It all comes down to a bank account of ins and outs. I’ve saved all my life and in putting money away for a raining day I had to give up some meals out, some special activities that I didn’t attend, etc. I’ve watched this friend spend lots of money on special programs not giving any thought to whether he could really afford it or not. Where is it written that we have the RIGHT to fancy restaurant meals, Starbucks café coffees daily rather than as a special treat or other niceties?  We all have to make choices and it really irks me to listen to this guy complain about the current administration and how his problems are all due to the Government and not in his own financial management.  He also told me that he would have to figure out how to get his 88 year old Mom a car so his sister could drive her around. Perhaps Uber for the few trips would be more economical or a special ride program. Oh no, they’d never be able to drive up the long drive way. He has an answer for everything. Well, perhaps the big home they’re living in is no longer suitable for his Mom and sister. Again, they don’t want to make any changes. It’s easier to just blame everything on the government.

I’ve written about personal accountability before, but this is a bit different. We can’t expect the government to do EVERYTHING. I feel that his sister is getting a lot from the government. When I asked about the other services available to her, he just brushed me off. He knows I’m one of the millions of crazy people who actually voted for this President and who is very happy with this economy which is very much due to his economic policies. And that’s my side of the story.


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