The Lure of Something for Nothing
The lure of something for nothing carries with it an abatement of personal responsibility. And in the short term, that makes the recipient feel like they’ve gotten away with something, but those feelings don’t last long before the cruelness of reality reminds them otherwise. It is then that the person either soldiers up and takes responsibility for their irresponsibleness, or they blame others and become bitter and resentful.
I had a heated conversation with a lifelong friend last week. My friend called to tell me he had finally been approved for obamacare and how ebullient he was at having same. I tried to keep my thoughts to myself right up until he said the ‘magic words.’ He stated he was “glad obamacare was there to take care of people like [him], those in [his] situation.” That was it. All bets were off at that point.
I said it was people like him who are contributing massively to sucking the financial life out of America. I reminded him that he had been single since his early-twenties. I reminded him that he had been self-employed since his mid-twenties and had earned a significant income his entire life. I reminded him that when his mother passed away, his sister and brother let him have the house he had lived in with her. I reminded him that I knew the things he had squandered his money away on including over-spending on lottery tickets; at times spending as much as $1,500 weekly; I knew it because I had cautioned him about not handling his money better. I reminded him that I had spoken to him any number of times about his need for health insurance and his need for nursing home insurance and the like based on his family health history.
You see, my friend’s entire family has been decimated by strokes and diabetes. His father, his mother, his uncle, and his older brother all died due to complications from strokes and diabetes. His older sister has had multiple strokes and now suffers from stroke-related complications. My friend had his first stroke at age 57, and he was the only person in his family to have not had a stroke at a younger age. Fortunately, he had his stroke while working and he was able to be medivaced to the hospital and receive the injections that prevented severe damage associated with strokes.
He knew the odds were against him. Still he did nothing to prepare when he was earning an excellent income with no financial obligations other than his season tickets to the hometown professional hockey team.
Then the cold, cruel hand of reality struck. The industry he worked in declined significantly which meant his income suffered tremendously, and he had a stroke. Ultimately he was forced to turn over the miniscule savings he had in the bank and surrender the couple assets he had except for his house in order to receive assistance from county and federal programs. Then after months in limbo, he is told that he can get obamacare; and it will only cost him $22.00 a month. He told me that he could have gotten a better obamacare plan, but it would have cost $84.00 monthly, and he didn’t see any reason to spend that much. Then he made the comment that incurred my full wrath. He said he had thought about it a lot, and after what he had gone through with no insurance blah-blah-blah that he not only now believed “the government should provide healthcare for every person, but that rich people should have to pay more to help out.”
There you have it. Irresponsibility meet reality — and blame someone else. My friend and I grew up together; we’ve been friends all our lives. I know what he earned and it was a substantial annual income for many years. There was no reason for him not to prepare for a the future that did not bode well for his health. Even after the industry he worked in began to tank he was earning enough to afford health insurance.
But he, like so many, refused to prepare, and when faced with the consequences of his poor decisions rather than accept responsibility and encourage others to avoid his mistake he found comfort blaming his definition of the rich for not paying enough and calling for the government to take care of him. The only card he can’t play is the race card.
He hated all Obama stood for right up until my friend was able to get something for nothing. The problem is that he didn’t get something for nothing; someone else is paying for it. And the lies pursuant to the number of paid signups notwithstanding, we will very soon learn that obamacare not only did not meet the number of new sign-ups needed by the end of March, but that it was unable to pay for itself. And this is just the beginning. I asked what he was going to do when he found he was unable to get a doctor or get the treatment needed to keep him alive, or when he found his coverages were no longer accepted at major pharmacies. I asked what he would do when his cost suddenly escalated well beyond anything healthcare would have cost him if Obama had stayed out of free market healthcare.
He didn’t care and refused to hear anything I had to say because he had just hit the lottery, at least in his mind. He had mismanaged his financial responsibility his entire life and now in his time of need someone else is responsible for footing the bill.
This is how many people think. It’s not that they cannot afford to provide for themselves; it’s that they choose not to, and then blame others when the reality of life smacks them in the face. My friend is a tragic example of what has become all too commonplace in America today.
Politicians and activists are not calling for personal responsibility; they are calling for those of us who are responsible to reward those who are not by taking care of them. Multiply my friend by millions just like him and we have the face of an entitlement society. The next thing I expect to hear from my friend is that he is now eligible for food stamps, free phone, and whatever other freebies taxpayers are forced to provide for people like him.
About the Author
Mychal S. Massie is an ordained minister who spent 13 years in full-time Christian Ministry. Today he serves as founder and Chairman of the Racial Policy Center (RPC), a think tank he officially founded in September 2015. RPC advocates for a colorblind society. He was founder and president of the non-profit “In His Name Ministries.” He is the former National Chairman of a conservative Capitol Hill think tank; and a former member of the think tank National Center for Public Policy Research. Read entire bio here