Tuesday, March 28, 2006

The Results of an Entitlement Mentality

Two big items in the news this week should be a wake up call for Americans. One is the riots in France in response to a more growth friendly labor policy and the other is the mass demonstrations, not yet riots, across the US in response to proposed immigration legislation.

The riots in France are in response to proposed legislation that would allow employers to hold young workers accountable for their performance and have some discretion in who stays and who goes. It is a, God forbid, business-friendly and growth-friendly policy. This attempt at a change in policy is the response to a rapidly imploding French economy and French society. This crisis in France is due to its socialist policies that promote entitlement mentality, mediocrity and stifle economic growth. With less than one percent economic growth for years, France can no longer afford its lavish social policies and has to do something to improve its economy in order to continue to support its entitlement programs. Entitlement programs create an entitlement mentality. Unfortunately, entitlement mentality, by nature, is a mean beast. In short they have created a monster.

Their programs and policies have convinced a generation that they are entitled to guaranteed work and income regardless of qualifications or job performance. You take those policies away and what do you get? That's right, riots in the streets. So what does this have to do with us? Let me offer some examples. I worked in healthcare for years. Raises were not based on merit. Everybody got the same cost of living increase every year, regardless of job performance. This is based on the socialist ideal of equality for all, meaning no matter how worthless a co-worker may be, they are entitled to the same raise you get. It stifles excellence and promotes incompetence. This is widespread policy throughout the public sector and much of the private sector.

How about another example? Here is a quick quiz. Whose job is most at risk, an incompetent government employee who is a female and/or a minority and/or who has a disability, or a competent manager who attempts to fire her? I think you know the answer to this one. Incompetence is rampant in the workplace simply because entitlement programs make it a risky proposition to remove incompetent employees if they are members of any "protected group". Again this promotes incompetence, stifles excellence, creates an entitlement mentality and is counter to economic growth.

So what is the lesson here? The lesson here is that our country will rot from the inside out if we continue these polices. The longer we continue them, the more ingrained the entitlement mentality becomes and the worse the riots will be when somebody finally has the guts to put a stop to it. What we see in France is very likely what we will see in the US if the trend continues. US labor policies are drifting toward the French model, while the French are having to reap what they have sown. If we are not careful we will have a repeat of France's problems on a much larger scale when we are finally forced to put a stop to our own socialist labor policies.

Now for part two of the lesson on entitlement mentality. The protests, including walk outs and obstruction of business operations, in response to proposed immigration reform is an example of the repercussions of ingraining an entitlement mentality in a portion of the population. Policies that have ignored and even rewarded illegal immigration are entitlement programs and put a strain on our society. The price society pays for rampant illegal immigration far outweighs the economic benefits of millions of cheap laborers. But, we have tolerated it for so long it has become expected. People feel like it is a right that they are entitled to. Obviously large numbers of people living in our country both legally and illegally think they and others are entitled to break the law. Now that the rest of the country has demanded change, they take to the streets. In their mind they are entitled to be here simply because that option has been our policy.

So these series of events should be evaluated and understood in the broader context of the ugly side of entitlement policies that promote an entitlement mentality. Once that mentality has been established embarking on social change is a risky proposition, just ask France.

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