COLUMN: Entitlements run deeper than potholes

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By John Shindlebower

Americans crave their independence, or at least we claim to. Earlier this month, we celebrated 239 years of independence with parades, concerts, fireworks and other celebrations. I sometimes wonder how much of it is just show.
Few people, outside of those who espouse Socialism, will admit to wanting government to do all things for all people. However, increasingly we see a willingness to shirk our own responsibilities if we think the folks in Washington, Frankfort or down at City Hall will do for us, what we ought to be doing for ourselves.
It’s evident with the entitlement society we see today where more people than ever are receiving some type of government assistance. This dependency fosters slothfulness and irresponsibility. Certainly we have veered far from the rugged individualism that made this nation what it once was.
You may think it’s a stretch, but the recent controversy over fixing potholes is a case in point.
Most businesses would recoil against any attempt by the city to dictate how they do business, when they do business, what they sell, what price they sell it for or any attempt to mandate decisions they feel should be their own.
However, when businesses assert their right to make their own decisions, it should be accompanied by a willingness to handle problems on their own - especially those problems that are their responsibility.
Those potholes that have been a nuisance to motorists driving in and out of the shopping center at Settlers Center are on private property. Most of the demands for them to be filled have been directed towards City Hall.
Under pressure, city commissioners agreed last week to make some temporary repairs to the potholes, while surveying the back stretch of road to see if it can be claimed as a city street. The front road, where the holes are just as numerous and large, is known to be private property and the city has no legal right to simply take it over and make repairs.
Know this - the city is not really paying for those potholes to be repaired. Rather, city taxpayers are.
That’s one of the most frustrating realities to teach those who think they’re entitled to free food, free services, free phones, free healthcare or anything free. There is nothing absolutely free. Somebody has to pay.
However, those embracing the entitlement mentality think that having ‘government’ pay for these things takes the burden off the people. In truth, entitlements put more of a burden on the people. There is no such thing as government money, only taxpayer money. So the more you expect your government to do, the more your government will expect from you.
Rest assured, there are some in government, especially at the state and federal level, who welcome this control. They long for the day when the citizens will depend on government for their very existence, thus making them slaves to those in power. If government bureaucrats control your pay, your benefits, your housing - they will essentially gain control of your life.
Your vote will no longer be about putting people in office who have the best interest of the nation in mind, but rather your vote will have been sold to those who promise to keep sending you what you’re ‘entitled’ to. It seems every year we slide further and further toward government dependency, and further away from the Spirit of 1776. We may still set off fireworks, but only those the government says we can. How ironic is that?
So the potholes are a little better this week, or they were before Monday’s rains. But do we really feel better that we looked to government for a solution to a private property problem?
Some of the property owners have stepped up. Here’s hoping they can get everyone on board and take responsibility for the safety of customers coming to their businesses.
Remember, the best way to keep government in check, is to stop asking the government to write a check.