Entitlement

And because this is the season for kvetching, I would like to point out this little lovely I found on an image search. “You are not entitled to what I earn.” Judging by all the anti-Obama stuff surrounding that meme,it seems to be a battlecry against big taxes, and affordable healthcare, and public assistance programs of many stripes. Right? Is that a fair assessment? 

Right. First, let’s unpack the word “earn.” If you run a business that profits in any way from the working poor, you have achieved your comfort, at least in part, by standing on the backs of the poor. Your restaurant’s produce likely comes from poor pickers; your wait staff–whom you pay $3 an hour–is likely poor; the private school teachers who taught you to read are at least close to poor. You earned nothing without the poor. 

Second, even if we somehow could decide that you earned everything on your own, just where did you come from–and please could you go back? You won’t clothe the poor? You won’t feed the hungry? You won’t welcome the stranger? You won’t aid the peacemaker? You won’t visit the imprisoned? You won’t heal the sick?

Harvard researchers have just determined that without Affordable Healthcare, 43,956 of the poor will die, per year. Did you earn enough to buy your way out of that? Have you earned your way to such superman perfection, that you can face the Judgement you so likely believe in, without anyone helping you from your own far worse, and far deeper poverty? Or maybe, if you don’t heal the sick and help the poor, you are, at heart, both a killer and a thief.

(Originally posted January 24, 2017)

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