Entitlement spending has grown 100-fold in the United States over the past 50 years, and Nicholas Eberstadt thinks that more than the country’s financial stability is at stake. Through a Q&A with Nick Eberstadt about his new book “A Nation of Takers: America’s Entitlement Epidemic” and responses from our authors, V&C looks at how the Millennial generation should respond to the troubling situation we have inherited.
Part 1: In my generation, a lot of people got excited about politics back in the late 1960s, and then got enormously disappointed and stopped participating. That’s absolutely the worst way to approach a long-term problem like this [entitlements].
Part 2: I would say that for Americans as a whole, the most pernicious myth is that entitlements are mainly a benefit arrangement for an underclass. In a pure arithmetic sense the main beneficiaries of something for nothing politics are our working Americans and our middle class Americans…
Part 3: We’ve got to recognize that there is a generational aspect to this nation of takers thing. And, at the moment, it’s Gen Y that’s in the cross-hairs … The sooner the people of younger ages speak up, the sooner we’ll have the whole national conversation that we deserve.
Our Generation in the Nation of Takers – Luke Holladay
The end of the entitlement programs may be a foregone conclusion, but the battle for America’s character rages on. So long as government coddles our generation, entitlement will only continue to grow. On the other hand, a principled, fair-minded commitment to restricting the entitlement programs could remind Americans that if we don’t care for each other, nobody will provide a safety net.
How Government Suffocates Charity — Joy Pullmann
It’s mathematically impossible for the U.S. to keep paying more and more into entitlement programs on the shoulders of fewer and fewer contributing citizens. The more government punishes people who work hard and rewards others for not, the worse off our economy will become. Ultimately, unless we change course, more people will become poor and suffer.
Are Americans the Takers or the Taken? — Alexis Hamilton
As we Americans continue to take our entitlements, we perpetuate the welfare behemoth that continues to crowd out the space between individuals and government where the majority of American life used to take place. The society that once flourished in the breath between individuals and government is threatened, and with it, so goes the culture that shapes Americans into a people capable of self-government.
Dependency in the Entitlement Archipelago — Joseph Sunde
As Eberstadt records, the predominant attitudes of our time seem fundamentally fixed on the taker-as-taker status quo with no recognition of the hefty “giving” that must soon accompany it. “Social welfare programs are no longer reluctantly defended, but instead positively celebrated as part of the American dream,” Eberstadt notes, “and the promise to not only defend these but to increase their scope still further is offered as a positive reason for Obama’s reelection.” Even if we see “dependence” as acceptable as long as it constitutes interdependency—quite apart from the other corrosive tendencies of government management—now would still not be the appropriate time to celebrate the expansion of that which is unsustainable.