Robert J. Samuelson: The era of entitlements in America is collapsing

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  • John20000 Cedar Hills, UT
    May 2, 2013 10:45 a.m.

    "By the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread." Moses.

    "All children have claim upon their parents for their maintenance until they are of age. And after that, they have claim upon the church, or in other words upon the Lord’s storehouse, if their parents have not wherewith to give them inheritances. And the storehouse shall be kept by the consecrations of the church; and widows and orphans shall be provided for, as also the poor." Joseph Smith, Jr.

    My interpretation: Work hard and generously donate to a church.

  • the old switcharoo mesa, AZ
    May 1, 2013 1:50 p.m.

    Entitlements is not a new issue. Kings always thought they were entitled to all the wealth of the land. For a short period, we overthrew the kings and valued a person's hard work.

    Just as all races, religions and genders are about to enjoy that, we have a push from conservatives to go back to allowing the few percent and eventual king to take all and leave just enough scraps to keep the rest of us alive.

    This is a 10,000 year old fight. The 1 percent don't work and toil, they leverage other people's work. Management and risk deserves compensation but not a million to 1 ratio.

  • Mountanman Hayden, ID
    April 30, 2013 9:18 p.m.

    @ 10CC. I believe you knowingly misquoted Lady Thatcher. She was speaking about the fundamental role of families within any society and the breakdown of the family will ultimately cause any society to disintegrate. Wise up, life is short!

  • 10CC Bountiful, UT
    April 30, 2013 6:25 p.m.


    Alas, there are limits to the wisdom of Margaret Thatcher, as well. For example, she believed there is no such thing as "society".

    "There are individuals, and there are families, and that's it".

    Assuming you adhere to everything Thatcher espoused, it seems most of the problems and issues we discuss are, by definition, non-existent.

  • UtahBlueDevil Durham, NC
    April 30, 2013 4:53 p.m.

    Oh, I agree we have an entitlement issue. We have an issue of people who think they are entitled to more than the last generation, without the sacrifice of the last generation. Yes, this does include the normal benefits, but also that we are entitled to better jobs than the rest of the work, that we are entitled to win at more sports, that we are entitled to have to sacrifice - yes - even be taxed less.

    Bottom line, we feel we are entitled to not have to work fast food when we are teens. We feel we are entitled to more cars, more TVs. We have more of those than every past generation - and yet we complain. We are entitled to have more, and entitled to do less.

    And we feel we are entitled to more freedoms than any other generation. And we feel we are entitled to decide how others live their lives...

    Yes, we are an entitlement generation. Entitled to all the freedoms - and entitled to not have to do much to support it.

  • Ultra Bob Cottonwood Heights, UT
    April 30, 2013 3:53 p.m.

    The difference between human beings and the other animals of the jungle is that we have the capacity to think beyond the needs of the here and now. While many animal types developed a herd instinct, they never got beyond the thoughts of survival.

    There are those among us that dispute our origins of the jungle while demanding that we return to that state of being, or so they tell us. Jungle law gives the opportunity for winners and losers which is the temptation of the rich and powerful.

    While they work hard at making the status permanent, nature shows us that nothing is really permanent.

    When there are many rabbits the coyotes bloom and have a wonderful life. But when the coyotes are enjoying their wonderful life, they create too many coyotes causing the rabbit population to fall and bring starvation to the coyotes. Which then brings to good live back to the rabbits.

    Human beings don’t have to let nature cull the herd, if they think about it.

  • wrz Pheonix, AZ
    April 30, 2013 3:39 p.m.

    "It [SS] was never meant to be just another welfare program. It was meant to have the dignity of being something you paid for in advance."

    You don't seem to understand politicians. They will justify collecting taxes for what seems to be worthy projects... then spend the funds any way they darn well please.

  • bandersen Saint George, UT
    April 30, 2013 2:51 p.m.

    KJBI: Andy made the world a better place by taking individual responsibility for making it so, not screaming and hollering about somebody else not making it a better world. I can understand why he would sympathize for those who hadn't lived the America dream as he did. Pitying someone rather than helping them discover their own road to success is a typical response from the naive and uninitiated. Andy's character is the one that many would do well to emulate.

    Hutterite: Safety net programs were never meant to become an entitlement and it is those entitlements that are not only destroying the people dependent on them, but are bankrupting us, something that can hardly be considered a 'safety net' for anyone. I do not doubt that there is a lot of greed and selfishness that is destroying America, but delegating that 'safety net' to government doesn't help the giver or the receiver.

    Nate: Kudos!

  • KJB1 Eugene, OR
    April 30, 2013 1:16 p.m.


    Just so you know, Andy Griffith was a lifelong Democrat.

  • Badgerbadger Murray, UT
    April 30, 2013 12:27 p.m.

    Looks like the democrats are running out of other people's money to spend.

    But as Samuelson says, "Sooner or later, the programs called "entitlements," including Social Security, will be trimmed because they're expensive and some recipients are less deserving than others."

    Won't that be an ugly fight, who is deserving and who is not. Will the deserving be those who have paid in to SS? I hope so. It was never meant to be just another welfare program. It was meant to have the dignity of being something you paid for in advance.

  • Hutterite American Fork, UT
    April 30, 2013 11:22 a.m.

    The only era of 'entitlement' in America involved the recent overuse of the word 'entitlement', as a buzzword for mongering fear. As an actual 'era' it never existed. Rather, we're using it as an excuse and enabler to gut what few societal safety nets we ever had, while shielding our consciences from our own greed and selfishness.

  • Mountanman Hayden, ID
    April 30, 2013 8:27 a.m.

    The Iron Lady (Margaret Thatcher) was right; "The problem with socialism is that eventually they always run out of other people's money." It seems we have arrived at that inevitable place. Obama and he Democrats just don't know it, yet!

  • bandersen Saint George, UT
    April 30, 2013 8:01 a.m.

    And therein lies hope! Perhaps, finally, the real Americans will stand up and be counted: Work, family, God fearing, and Constitutionally oriented. Andy Griffeth returns to America. If you aren't living it now, then you never understood how important family was. Government is not the answer fellows. How many deaf ears will continue to see the government as their savior? The man behind the curtain, representing the worst of both major parties, is being unveiled. There is a return to hope!

  • Nate Pleasant Grove, UT
    April 30, 2013 8:01 a.m.

    So, now that we know these things, how do we apply what we've learned?

    According to the author, we've learned that we don't have enough knowledge to manage the economy. Shouldn't we reject attempts to put large portions of the economy -- such as housing and health care -- under central management?

    Knowing that large corporations will not save us, shouldn't we root out all forms of cronyism, such as bank bailouts and green energy boondoggles?

    Knowing that incomes (and tax revenues) are not guaranteed to continually rise, shouldn't we be making greater efforts to control federal spending?

    Knowing that the breakdown of the family leads to societal problems, shouldn't we be doing more to strengthen the family?

    I'd like to think that we can learn from our mistakes.