There is an air of entitlement in our society, and it stinks. This is a two-headed monster threatening to devour those of us in the middle. The “haves” and the “have-nots” are very different kinds of people, but both groups feel that they deserve privileges and special treatment the rest of us don’t have access to. I came to this realization the other day when a guy in a new Mercedes pulled onto the commuter lane on I-5 right in front of us. He was alone in his car, and tooled along for miles in a lane reserved for vehicles with two or more people.
The “haves” think they are entitled to bailouts, tax breaks, free checking, low interest, and, like this guy, have no regard for rules that should apply to all. Of course, this a generalization, but it something I couldn't stop thinking about. It led to the question, “Why should I foot the bill for folks who already have so much? “ I certainly don’t begrudge them their wealth, but I struggle with the fact that we, the middle class, are being drained by rich guys in Mercedes, driving in the wrong lane, who have their hand out to the government for another break or bonus or bailout.
On the other hand, the entitlement mentality of the “have-nots” is equally disturbing. We are a great society. Unlike most countries in the world, we care for those who cannot take care of themselves. There should be access to medical care, housing assistance, food stamps, and all the other programs in place to help people help themselves. Theses are designed to be a stepping stone, but in many cases, are stopping stones. Just because someone has medical coupons, it is not a free pass to bring the whole family into the ER or a clinic just because one child is ill. Then there is the prescription drug issue. There are poor controls in place that track the activity of someone with “U and I” insurance as they hop from doctor to clinic to ER and are given multiple prescriptions for narcotics, that are finding their way to the street for enormous prices. More on this topic later. Suffice to say, the abuses are beyond belief, without much watch dogging, and those of us who work hard to maintain health care benefits for our families, and have huge copays and deductibles, I might add, are paying for them (check your pay stub) .
The end result is that those of us sandwiched between the two are struggling with higher costs, fewer jobs, foreclosures, loss of insurance benefits, or increasing co pay costs, and have despaired as our little retirement funds that we worked so hard to accrue, have shriveled away.
It won’t be long before I need a bailout or a handout, but there won’t be anything left. We, the middle class, are shriveling, too. There won’t be anyone left to foot the bill for me. So, I guess it’s a good thing that I don’t think I’m entitled to anything more than what I earn, and that being here in the middle has taught me self-reliance. I am thankful for what I have, I am grateful for adversity that makes me stronger, and I will never drive in the commuter lane when I am alone.