Is the Age of Entitlement Over?

A column by Thomas Friedman thinks so. Friedman is a great observer of American culture. In his view, we truly have reached lean times when residents of a county have to think about paying for a 911 call. They can pay a flat fee per year, or a huge fee per call.

So many things we just simply take for granted due to extravagantly “fat” times over the past generation are now coming home to roost. What was a privilege two generations ago is now seen as a right. And somehow we have lost sight of the fact that we have to EARN our rights. They are not always free. In fact, they are NEVER free.

Yet, it’s what we keep demanding.

Healthcare. We need reform. However, NO ONE wants to give up ANYTHING to get something better. We can blame the insurance companies, hospitals, doctors, and on and on. How about ourselves? How about learning to deal with a cough WITHOUT going to the emergency room? We just keep demanding.

We want responsibility from banks that practiced horrible lending practices. Yet, we were certainly thrilled to take out a $300,000 loan to get a house we couldn’t possibly hope to pay for in a huge mortgage. We just keep demanding.

President Obama keeps lecturing us that government isn’t our solution… and then proposes more government spending to get us out of the mess we made. We just keep demanding.

A generation ago, I could have these thoughts and put them in a journal using a pen and paper and no one would ever read them. Now, I can put them on the web and… well, no one will still read them, but there is the possibility that SOMEONE will read them. Yet, do I want to pay more for internet access or a newer computer or newer technology? Not if I don’t have to! We just keep demanding.

We do not know how to make lean choices. We are intelligent, well-educated, creative in so many ways… and handicapped. We don’t know how to do without, or EARN our way to something better. We just keep demanding.

2 thoughts on “Is the Age of Entitlement Over?

  1. So, so true. May we learn again the value of hard work, earning something honestly. And may we learn to live more simply. I certainly need to get back to that.

  2. I so so agree! We all have that individual responsibility to stop demanding more all the time. Obama is surely right that sustainable change has to come from the bottom up – from us? With support of appropriate government policy of course – we say “You can take a horse to water but you can’t make it drink.” We can legislate against those cell phones (again!) being used in cars, but people still use them.

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