All Points: Are we all really either 'makers' or 'takers'?

Posted Sunday, Jan. 27, 2013  comments  Print Reprints
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Over the next few months, there will be a lot of debate in Washington, D.C., about the nation's spending.

Few people want to cut programs such as defense spending, and there isn't much money in other agencies. The big money and the big debates involve entitlements, from Social Security and Medicare to welfare.

Is there really a problem between the "takers" and the "makers" in the United States? Is there really the problem of a "welfare society"?

Be careful with labels

We must be very careful labeling people "makers" and "takers." I was a "maker" for 55 years and now that I am retired some call me "taker." However, during that 55 years I paid into Social Security, so am I really now a "taker"?

Almost all of us, at some time, are takers. The conservative model of "trickle-down economics" is nothing more than us giving to the wealthy ("takers"), so they can become makers and (hopefully) create jobs for us.

Corporations taking tax abatements to provide jobs is another "take and (hopefully) make" equation. What about tax "loopholes" for the wealthy?

Are our children "takers"? And our houses of worship? How about those truly in need?

Don't tell me America is broke. America is rich! But if we turned our backs on those now in need, would that make us richer -- or more impoverished in our national soul?

-- David Perkins, Fort Worth

The able should work

It's my impression that regardless of their contribution to society, too many people in this country feel entitled to some type of help from the government.

It bothers me when I see minority groups' leaders fight for benefits in the shape of free rides for "their" people, the takers. How about using their resources to prepare them to become independent and productive citizens, the makers?

If we were all created equal and expect to be treated as such, then all able people should be expected to honestly make positive contributions to society -- to work. Any assistance from the government should be on a temporary basis, not a way of life for generations.

It is sad to see how the Third World rhetoric of "poor" against "rich" has dominated the political playground of what used to be an American dream reached by working hard. It is about time to reduce entitlements.

-- Yipsi Flores de Schulz,

Fort Worth

We're all takers

The problem isn't takers versus makers. The problem is that we've all been turned into takers.

Collectivists truly believe we should all be dependent on each other. They want us all caught in an interlocking web of dependency so it will be in everyone's interest for it to continue.

They've succeeded brilliantly: public schools, colleges, hospitals; Medicare, Social Security, Medicaid, unemployment insurance; tax deductions and credits; unnecessary military spending; business subsidies and credits -- we all wind up takers.

More brilliant still, by running a deficit, government can appear to give back more than it takes -- even at state and local levels, which nominally operate on balanced budgets but receive much of their money from the deficit-running federal government.

We know it's unsustainable, but no one wants to jump off the gravy train while everyone else remains on it. So we hurtle to our doom.

-- George Michael Sherry,

Fort Worth

Get government out

Anyone managing a household or a business knows that balancing a budget is essential in determining what can be spent. Since our government has rarely accomplished this, it likely will continue.

Social Security is not an entitlement because participants earned it. Medicare and welfare are wonderful and beneficial entitlements but are mismanaged by a non-business entity that has no interest in efficiency.

No one wants their income or entitlements reduced, but a country in trouble cannot recuperate unless all involved "fess-up," "bite the bullet" and endure whatever is necessary to realize financial stability.

The corruption within Social Security, welfare and Medicare is known to be catastrophic. If the corruption is eliminated or if our government would get out of the welfare business and gradually turn it over to society where it belongs, then our nation would stand a strong chance of survival.

-- Grady Fuller, Kennedale

Allow local control

There are two problems. First, centralized federal control is much inferior to local control. Locals have personal contact with recipients and know better who deserves welfare and who doesn't. Centralized controllers are too far away to be effective, and they enact rules that often weaken and/or don't apply to local control.

Second, welfare weakens our country by weakening self-reliance and burdening those who do work. There are some people who very much need welfare. But there are also others who want a free ride, human nature being what it is.

We used to rely mostly on ourselves, and that's when our country was stronger. But these days more people rely on the federal government. Government people are no smarter than the general public and further from the problems, so federal welfare is a recipe for disaster.

At least put it under local control.

-- Curt Lampkin, Azle

The ruling class

The problem is not so much the "takers" and "makers" in the United States. The problem is the givers! Members of Congress and the president, the ruling class, are not held accountable by the people they represent.

Until lawmakers are held accountable for their action or inaction, it will be more of the same. People in Washington, D.C., do what is good for them politically and good for their party, seldom what is good for the United States of America.

-- Rick Irving,

Fort Worth

Cut defense, loopholes

Citizens have become too lax in petitioning their government, especially when it comes to spending. They have been allowing the tail to wag the dog.

Medicare and Social Security should not even be in the debate as they are funded separately. Defense can be cut. The U.S. spends 41 percent of its budget on defense, which is more than China, Russia, England, France and 10 other countries combined.

Besides defense, Congress should be cutting out the loopholes that allow American corporations to pay zero income taxes.

-- Ed Lindsay,

Fort Worth

1 percent propaganda

Big money's propaganda machine has done an exemplary job of defining entitlements as Social Security, Medicare and any other social welfare program. But how about "deferred compensation," carried interest, capital gains and myriad other tax credits and deductions not available to the vast majority of Americans?

Their constant pressure on Congress to preserve their entitlements puts them in the position of being the ultimate "takers" in our society.

The top 1 percent will never apply for Social Security, but the army of subordinates required to maintain their lavish lifestyles will. So I question why this group is so selfish as to spend millions of dollars annually demonizing programs that keep Americans from abject poverty and despair.

A Pulitzer Prize is waiting for the person who can explain why so many Americans have bought into the 1 percent's propaganda at their own personal expense.

-- Tom Smusz, Brock

Sensible solutions

There are common-sense solutions to our long-term debt and deficit problems.

First, our military-industrial complex in this country is bloated, the evidence of this is that our annual defense budget exceeds the defense expenditures of the next 20 industrialized nations combined. We need to pull back from areas which are no longer strategic to the national interests of the U.S.

In regard to Medicare, we need to continue to target waste, fraud and abuse, limit access to those payees who have actually retired and do not have private insurance and continue to reduce overall healthcare system costs (the U.S. has the most expensive healthcare system, but is ranked 32nd in health outcome).

Social Security is much simpler: By raising the income cap for FICA taxes we can make Social Security sustainable for the next generation and beyond.

-- Dan Rogers,

Arlington

Eliminate the cap

Several years ago, I learned that there was a cap on income for Social Security payroll taxes of $110,000. Any income over that is not taxed. Why not eliminate that cap? Obviously, people earning more than $110,000 would have less financial stress than those who don't.

-- Carol Crosby,

Arlington

We pay for abusers

Why in the world would the Obama administration want to cut spending for Social Security and/or Medicare benefits? Most of the people on Social Security and/or Medicare have already paid their dues into the system via payroll deductions.

The government needs to take a closer look into the welfare and disability programs. I've heard people say they would rather receive disability income than actually work. This is ridiculous!

In addition, I think people should be a little more careful about reproduction resulting in having more children than they can take care of properly. Some rely on the government to pay their way. I think we've all seen this.

We all pay when a few abuse the system, and there are many who do. This present administration is broken and needs to be fixed right away.

-- Patricia Adkins,

Euless

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