Sunday, February 25, 2018

Do not get hooked on entitlements

A pet peeve of the Republicans in the US presidential elections was the issue of entitlement such as in health care and taxation to facilitate the underprivileged.

I am all for relief for the unfortunate but I also acknowledge the merit of the conservative argument against such "entitlement" as they see it, because it seems to undermine the work ethic and people receiving their due according to their efforts.

For the Republicans this is truly the American way but according to President Obama, there is an inherent unfairness which militates against the efforts of many in the society because the playing field is never equal, hence the need to right this imbalance through legislation.

Still, Obama's emphasis on building the middle class ties into that Republican work ethic of people working to improve their lives. Does that balance exist here in T&T? Obama's philosophy certainly does as in the Government's generosity to the varied groups as with the $2 million to Sat and Sharma for Divali and a similar amount for Emancipation and Eid, the perennial hamper giveaways as lately, and of course the housing relief for the distressed.

We mustn't lose sight of the Republican vision of the work ethic and people being rewarded justly. The Government's generosity must never degenerate into a sense of "entitlement" ad infinitum.

A fair day's work for a fair day's pay must be the metaphor uppermost in the minds of all, whether rich or poor, privileged or under privileged.

Dr Errol Benjamin

via e-mail