One thing this election has made crystal clear is that we are becoming a society of dependence, rejecting the traditional American dream and drive for success in favor of collecting disability, welfare, and other government provided benefits. Democrats have been capitalizing on this shift while Republicans take on the impossible task of attempting to explain to the dependents that all of the hand outs are unsustainable and harmful. Unfortunately, like trying to take away candy from a spoiled child through reason, our efforts have been unsuccessful.
To see where the dependence culture leads, Republicans only have to point to the tiny peninsula in the Mediterranean causing the entire world daily headaches, Greece. This has often been pointed at as the consequence of our current lack of financial responsibility and growth of entitlements, but the primary lesson to take away from Greece today is not economic; it’s cultural.
Last night, the Greek parliament passed through necessary austerity measures amid a new wave of violent protests. The latest austerity package does not appear controversial. As the Financial Times summarized, it consisted of cuts in pensions and government salaries, higher taxes on gas and cigarettes, increased health care costs, and an increase in the retirement age from 65 to 67. Outrage and riots from these modest reductions have been completely out of proportion and can only be explained by the deep-seated entitlement mentality:
This is where we are heading in the long term and what Americans voted for Tuesday night: a people so inclined to being handed everything there’s no rationality or measured response when something gets taken away. Luckily, we are not yet Greece and still have time to reverse the course, avert the fiscal cliff, and buck the entitlement culture. It’s not an easy task, but not impossible if Republicans stay encouraged and keep fighting.