Entitlements are good

President-elect Donald Trump is the end product of America’s evolution from altruism to narcissism. Trump represents arrogant, entitled-minded individuals who believe they alone have made America great. However, history proves otherwise. It was government entitlement programs, not entitled individuals, that enable America to prosper.

 

Entitlement programs, such as the Homestead Acts, were a response to self-serving Southern slave owners who wanted to buy up large tracts of land and use slave labor. However, the government wanted to give free working-class white men the opportunity to own land. This led to the Homestead Act of 1862. The act granted each applicant, which included women and immigrants who applied for citizenship, 160 acres of land. Moreover, later homestead acts granted larger tracts up to 640 acres. In all, the federal government granted 1.6 million homesteads and distributed 270 million acres of federal land for private ownership. The nation prospered.

 

Later, the government had to bail out thousands of homestead farmers whose land was ruined by the Dust Bowl disaster of the 1930s. The Dust Bowl was caused by ecologically adverse farming practices that eroded topsoil. To resolve the situation, the government provided subsidies and opened schools to educate farmers on soil conservation and anti-erosion techniques. National prosperity grew.

Therefore, Trump voters are beneficiaries of the prosperity created by past and present government entitlement programs. Hence, they are in no position to criticize current recipients of government assistance, preach self-reliance or advise anyone to pick oneself up by the bootstraps. American folksinger Joan Baez spoke truth when she sang the lyrics, “No man is an island; no man stands alone.”

Kevin Palmer

Martinez

 

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