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JFK 100: “Ask not” would be shunned by today’s entitled liberals

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Many have written about how this week marked the 100th anniversary of the birth of former President John F. Kennedy. His most memorable quote is, “Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country.” How times have changed. President Kennedy’s statement would sound blasphemous to today’s liberals, many of whom reject capitalism while fully embracing the concept of democratic socialism.    

More than a half-century after Kennedy uttered those words during his inaugural address, today’s Democrats, especially liberal millennials, are completely ignoring his advice. They never seem to stop asking what their country can do for them. They want the government to provide them free healthcare, free college, and a free middle-class lifestyle.

What they fail to understand is nothing is really free. The costs of these new entitlements will be covered by the hardworking middle-class American taxpayers. Many of them are already financially strapped as they face higher health care premiums thanks to the creation of the most recent entitlement program, Obamacare.

Today, a majority of the federal budget is devoted to entitlement spending. With all of the baby boomers now collecting Social Security and Medicare, our $20 trillion debt will only get worse. It’s only a matter of time before the entitlement bubble finally bursts. Millennials, who are currently demanding free college and a federal $15 an hour minimum wage, will be lucky if Social Security and Medicare still exist by the time they are ready to retire.

It has often been said that the United States can either have a welfare state or open borders, but it cannot have both.  The mass migration of poor, low-skilled immigrants from third-world countries puts an enormous burden on the social programs that liberals hold so dear to their hearts. It would probably be in the country’s best economic interest to slow down this type of immigration, but anyone with the courage to propose doing so would be immediately denounced by the press for being politically incorrect.

Reforming the entitlement culture is easier said than done.  It is hard to take a government benefit away from someone, especially after they have repeatedly been told that it is a “right.”  While there are some people who genuinely need government assistance, there is no doubt that there is widespread abuse of these programs. It should be a top priority of the government to make sure that everyone who uses these programs actually needs them.

It would be nice if the United States as a country could have an honest debate about how to fix entitlement programs. However, anyone who proposes slowing down the massive growth of government is immediately slandered by the intolerant left. Until the political atmosphere changes to a point where an honest discussion about how the country’s problems should be solved can actually take place, these problems will continue to persist for the foreseeable future — and continue to betray the legacy of JFK’s most memorable quote.

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