While I agree that the US is a nation of takers, I don’t consider this at US phenomenon. People in general are selfish and greedy. I am willing to bet many more people would break the law knowingly to increase their personal fortunes. I also believe most don’t for fear of getting caught and the resultant punishment. I would be very interested in where the figures come from in ofdor’s argument. Most especially where he cites that more than half of the population pay no income tax. The argument that somebody making $30 K a year would turn down a job paying $60 K just seems outlandish.
Americans are so engrossed in their individualistic attitudes that they fail to see the benefits of collaboration and an overall improvement of society. We as Americans are unwilling to help others and sacrifice some of our own material goods for others since we believe that everyone has the opportunity to take whats there's and some people just fail at this.
The US has about 350 million people in it's borders. Almost half of them pay no income tax, and receive government benefits. Regardless of the reason, the government cannot sustain itself this way, and reducing the barriers to government assistance (via removing the work requirement from welfare) will only make it worse. An article I read explained that it was actually better for a mother of two to take government benefits and keep a $30K/ year job, than to take a $60K/ year paying job, due to the loss of benefits! With people growing up having an entitlement mentality, and a government more than willing to provide, we are heading down a bad path.
I assume that "takers" is meant to refer to people who are seen as "leeches and parasites" on the government, per most of the political discourse seen through the last presidential election. Are SOME Americans taking advantage of government assistance? Of course, there are bad apples among every orchard, but are the MAJORITY of Americans doing this? No, I do not believe so.
Some people will point to the increase in citizens on food stamps as proof of this, but an increase in food stamps is what one should expect when your country dives into a terrible recession.
Others will say that there are too many "takers" in America because only roughly 50 percent of the population pays income tax. While this is true, it's worth noting that the vast majority of those who do not pay income tax DO pay payroll taxes. They simply do not make enough to meet the threshold for income tax.
Lastly, what most people imagine when they hear the word "welfare" is some form of TANF (Temporary Assistance for Needy Families). This program provides cash assistance to needy families who have dependent children. Contrary to popular belief, one cannot just live out their days on these benefits. A recipient can only receive an absolute maximum of 60 months of benefits within their lifetime, and some states have shortened that even further.
Yes, there are "takers" in American society but they are not the individuals who are dependent upon entitlements. Instead, the true "takers" are the rich. During the 50's, 60's, and part of the 70's, the United States experienced its greatest economic success. During this time period, a great middle class was built, the effective tax rate for the rich was 90 percent, and industry regulations were strong but not overbearing. Why? Because the rich realized they were only rich because of great American workers and the freedoms and infrastructure provided by living in the U.S., not because they "worked harder." But this economic progress has been dismantled since the "Reagan Revolution" and now the rich get richer and the poor get poorer. So no, those on entitlements are not "takers." Instead, modern-day entitlements now serve as the support that post WWII businesses used to provide for their workers but now refuse to offer. Modern-day entitlements now take the place of the benefits which used to be provided to wage laborers in the past. The only difference now is the government has to provide because the rich who use their workers to become wealthy refuse to do so.