America has always been considered the land of opportunity. The foundation of our country is a desire to work hard and prosper. From our founding, and to this day, immigrants come to this country to pursue the American dream of liberty.
My parents are immigrants. They came to this country because they saw an opportunity and took it. While there were always opportunities for them to go back home, especially after the company my father worked for went under, they decided to stay in America. There were many years that my parents struggled to support their three children, but they were here to pursue the American dream. Not once did my parents think to go on food stamps or government assistance. They were immigrants, they had green cards and they had came here to build the life they wanted for their family through hard work.
I remember back to when my dad lost his job. In the face of tragedy, my parents did something truly amazing; they took what money they had left and started their own business. It was a struggle in the beginning but, after first owning an antique store and then deciding to get into the restaurant business, my parents made something for themselves. They worked hard and came out on top.
Today, liberty is being killed by government dependency. We now have the largest percent of our population in history reliant on some form of government assistance. According to a June 2012 Heritage Foundation article, 128.8 million Americans, roughly 40 percent of the U.S. population, depend on government assistance in their daily lives. A December 2012 Pew poll found that 55 percent of Americans have received benefits from at least one of the six “best-known” federal entitlement programs – i.e., Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, food stamps, welfare or unemployment benefits.
Taxpayers are required to provide this assistance. According to whitehouse.gov, 17.2 percent of the income tax paid by a single person, with no children and making $25,000 per year, goes to Job and Family Security. This includes unemployment insurance and food assistance. Yet throwing money at a problem has not fixed it and taxpayers are running out of money to give. While government agencies think they are doing good, in reality they are getting too big, spending too much and are not realizing what is happening to the American culture as a result.
Instead of using these programs to get back on their feet, many Americans are becoming dependent on them. This is not what America is about. If we want to see the America that our Founding Fathers created for us, this dependancy needs to stop. We need to teach people how to work hard instead of hardly work. As much as I would like to see government aid completely turned over to the private sector, I also realize that won’t happen – but I do think the government needs to stop creating dependents out of those who are truly capable of depending on themselves.
Samantha Poetter is a senior in political science. Please send comments to firstname.lastname@example.org