Letter to the Editor

Safety net becomes entanglement

When food commodities from the government became available to poor people, my grandfather wouldn't take any. I was just a kid, and I didn't understand. Here was free food, and grandpa said no. He said they could get by without the free food so they shouldn't take it.

Grandpa said to take handouts from the government just because they are free is wrong because nothing is free. And what's more, he said after a while you could become dependent on them, and eventually you might even feel entitled to them. He said it's best to not even start unless you absolutely have to.

Our nation is $22 trillion in debt, and some politicians keep promising more giveaways. But as Grandpa said, nothing is free. Somebody has to pay, either today or tomorrow. And more importantly, the entitlement mentality created by the giveaways erodes our independence, initiative and self-esteem. It conditions us to accept mediocrity and depend on the government. It makes us vulnerable to smooth-talking politicians who always promise more.

We've trained generations to rely on the "entitlements" for food, shelter, medical care and more. It may be too late to change. But unless we do, we will continue slipping into socialism, which will suck the exceptionalism out of our nation.

Most of us agree that we should help those who can't help themselves. But beyond that, we create mediocrity. We condition people to be less than they could be.

GARY L. GAINES, Cape Girardeau