My parents were children during the Great Depression, and it scarred them, especially my father, who saw destitution in his Brooklyn, N.Y., neighborhood: adults standing in so-called "bread lines," children begging in the streets. My grandfather was a New York City cop, and so my dad did not suffer as others did. But he never forgot the brutal scenes and worked hard his whole life to build some financial independence.
Fast-forward to the severe recession of 2008, when millions of Americans lost jobs and equity in their homes. No bread lines, but much pain. The Obama administration responded by pouring trillions of dollars into stimulus and rescue programs, some of which succeeded in stabilizing tottering banks and auto companies. But along with that, the president and his acolytes openly encouraged Americans to use the welfare system. And now the entitlement culture has exploded.
According to the Census Bureau, more people in America today are on welfare than have full-time jobs. There is a culture of dependency being created that is truly shocking. A recent study by the Cato Institute concludes that welfare now pays more than minimum-wage work in 35 states. So why enter the workforce at the bottom if the government will give you the same compensation for sitting on your butt?
Some believe that the Democratic Party, which champions the entitlement culture, is doing so to assure future votes from those receiving benefits. And right now, about half of all American households are getting some kind of compensation from the feds. Some of that, such as Social Security and Medicare, has been earned. But nearly 50 million Americans are receiving food stamps, and 83 million are on Medicaid.