California Forum

Another View: Feeling of entitlement is sweeping this country

In her article “Minimum-wage effort morphing into voting bloc” (Forum, Nov. 22), Anita Chabria presents another example of the entitlement belief that is widespread in our society.

The article mentions Mackenzie Wilson, a community organizer, who wants to use the power of government to push for a pay increase. She is working with a variety of groups to let them know that they are entitled to higher pay, regardless of what they do or contribute to society.

Her followers are told that not receiving at least $15 per hour is unfair and unjust. And she wants the power of government to force employers to pay higher wages.

If this was the only example of entitlement, we could survive this belief. Unfortunately, it is only part of a trend that is sweeping this country. People believe they are entitled to so many things, and they want government to confiscate from people who have money. Politicians support this position because it keeps them in office.

Recently, we were told some people can no longer afford housing in downtown Sacramento because government has pushed to gentrify the area. So the solution is to add a fee to new homes to provide subsidized housing. Taxpayers also are obligated to help pay for health insurance for people who cannot afford it. Taxpayers or ratepayers subsidize phones, food, utilities and transportation.

Cigarette smokers are evil, so make them pay more taxes. Car owners should not be driving, so make them pay higher gas taxes. The rich have too much, so take money from them.

Now, students believe that they are entitled to free college tuition and a waiver for existing debt. Who pays for this? People believe welfare is free or do not care that others who work hard for their money have to pay for these benefits.

This belief that some people are entitled to have others support them has become pervasive in society.

Government takes from those who have and dispenses entitlements to as many as possible. Deficits grow, the economy slows, and people wonder what happened.

Everyone blames it on others, since we are all entitled. When there is no one left to plunder, we will look for a savior to magically fix things. But it will be too late. Everything we have will be used to pay for the debt that we grew to give us the things we are entitled to receive for “free.”

Don Scheppmann is a retired division chief for the state controller’s office. He lives in Sacramento.