My generation has so graciously accepted the title: “the generation of entitlement”. And while I don’t disagree with the fact that my generation does act very entitled at times, they aren’t the biggest perpetrator of fostering such mentality and conduct. Our government is. Our government is by far the most entitled entity in all of America, but yet few people will stop to ponder this thought.
In 1798 the first form of income tax was imposed by state governments, and by 1913, with the ratification of the 16th amendment which gave the federal government the power to levy taxes on personal income, the entitlement train was up and chugging quickly down the tracks.
By amending the constitution in a way that gave the government a right to a portion of your hard earned money, with no questions asked, the mentality of entitlement was born. Though my generation is rather entitled for the fact that many can’t distinguish between what a right and what a privilege is, once understanding why millennials act in such a way, it brings into question whether this “generation of entitlement” is fully to blame for having a mentality like such.
With the highest tax bracket of 40% starting at only $470,000 for a joint married couple, resulting in the federal government taking a hefty share of $188,000, it makes a lot of Americans question where their money is being spent. Now keep in mind, this 40% is only federal income tax, not including state income tax! Disregarding states which do not tax income, add on anywhere between 3-13% on top of the 40%. After paying federal and state taxes in states like California and Hawaii, the percent of hard earned money which you bring home is less than what the government takes from you in taxes. So just let that sink in for a minute.
So with that all being said, it’s sometimes rather difficult to understand why the government is taking such a large portion of your salary. The social benefits of which you might not even see. It can be especially hard for people of my generation to see their parents, or even themselves being taxed so heavily without receiving much benefit for the fact that they’re “middle class”. Because of the vicious cycle of the government taking really any amount of money which they deem acceptable, without any sort of accessible and uncomplicated way to object and challenge such practices, people begin to slowly think that they are entitled to all sorts of benefits since they can’t see their tax dollars working for them. Since this is the case, this leads to the mentality of, “Well since I’m paying taxes, I’m entitled to use this service; it’s my legal right. If not, then what am I paying taxes for?” And unfortunately, this is sort of entitlement mentality only starts here.
All in all, the 16th amendment royally screwed us all over and caught us in a perpetual cycle of entitlement. The more money the government takes from the people due to their own entitlement, the more people feel entitled to use the government as a way to pay for their needs and wants.