Thursday, November 30, 2006

The Entitlement Mentality?

In the book Why We Want You to be Rich, Robert Kiyosaki follows up Donald Trump's statement
"I'm afraid we have developed an entitlement mentality as a nation. And I'm not talking about just poor people. Too many people, from the president and senators on down, expect a pension from the government. I really wish we could afford to solve their problems, but to do that would bankrupt our nation. We could ask the rich to pay for everyone, but would it solve the problem? And for how long would it even solve the problem?"
with the statement:
"I agreed. Donald and I want people to let go of the entitlement mentality and become rich so they can solve the problem ... their own problem."

"The best way to solve the problem of bad financial results is to change our thoughts -- to start thinking like rich people rather than poor and middle-class people. That means losing the entitlement mentality -- whether you are a military officer, government worker, schoolteacher, employee or just poor. If we do not stop expecting the government to take care of us, we will continue to have the same results -- a bankrupt nation filled with well-educated but financially needy people.

"Albert Einstein defined insanity as 'doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.' In this case, it is my opinion that it is insanity to keep sending kids to school and not teaching them about money."

From pages 40-41.
OK, first of all, many of the reasons why people like myself are clamoring for guaranteed pensions and healthcare is because many corporations have mismanaged worker's contractually promised benefits like pensions and healthcare to the point that their actions should be considered criminal.

The book started out so well. It seemed like they understood the problem. Instead of proposing solutions that would end the erosion of the middle class, they go off on this Socially Darwinistic tirade that everyone should just fend for themselves. They want to shift the burden from themselves (and any taxes that they would have to pay) onto the very people who now cannot bear the burden because their wealth (via pensions and healthcare guarantees) have been stolen from them (by their corporate employers not funding those very guarantees). In a sense, the corporate owners have embezzled those funds.

I understand the distinction: there was no legal obligation (other than a weak contractual one that can be eradicated in Chapter 11 bankruptcy) to fund these obligations for the benefit of the workers. But if a worker had taken the employer's money and used it for a purpose other than what the employer had designated it, he would be guilty of embezzlement.

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