Some of my young grandchildren were cheerfully waiting in the car to go on an outing when their brother came out of the house with a popsicle his grandmother had given him. Immediately those in the car began crying and would not be comforted until they had been released from their car seats, gone into the house, and were given popsicles of their own. They had been happy and content until they saw someone else had something they wanted but didn’t have. They could not be comforted until they were given the same treat. There certainly was no reason for their brother to be given a popsicle when they weren’t. He hadn’t earned the popsicle. It was a gift from grandmother and they were as entitled to a gift as much as their brother. They cried until their demand for equal treatment was granted.
In contrast, their parents do not cry when they are not given popsicles. In fact, if their parents want popsicles they go out and buy them. They can buy all of the popsicles they want. They do not depend upon the generosity of anyone to provide popsicles. They buy them from the store in exchange for the purchase price.
This is an example of the great divide in America today: those who look to the government to be their grandmother and provide them with the same treats in life others have, and those who are adults and expect to provide for themselves. Politicians pander to the first group by orating about fairness and entitlements. Politicians appeal to the second group by talking about jobs. Voters choose the former if they see the government as a grandmother required to give treats to all children equally. They choose the second if they are, and have learned that they are, able to care for themselves. Who will win the election depends upon how many voters retain a childlike perception of life and how many perceive themselves as adults.
Those child-like dependents on the government will surely do what all children do when they are denied a desired treat—cry, and ultimately, have a tantrum. It always worked with grandmother, so why shouldn’t it work with an entitlement distributing government?
It is true that there are many who cannot care for themselves and are truly dependent upon others. It is essential that our nation provide for them. It is a great challenge to determine how to do so without forcing the whole nation into prolonged childhood. It is particularly critical now because, to extend the story of the kindly grandmother to match real facts, grandmother is borrowing 40 cents on every dollar she spends on popsicles and is running up a bill at the grocery store in the name of her unsuspecting grandchildren. Such a grandmother really isn’t very nice.