Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Entitlement and the Sequester

Wealth corrupts, and the greater wealth the greater the corruption. One of the more corrupting influences of wealth is the inordinate sense of entitlement that accompanies it - something that is especially strong in a society such as ours that caters so shamelessly to the rich. Entitlement means one feels one deserves better treatment than other, ordinary mortals.
Now rich people and business travelers are typically treated better than other, ordinary passengers on planes. But there is one area where all passengers are equal - flight delays. It just doesn't matter how rich one is or how much one has paid, if the plane can't take off on time. Everyone has to wait. and nobody - even poorer travelers like me - likes having to wait. We all resent it. 
So there is a part of me that shares the anger of  those complaining about the increasing travel delays, thanks to cutbacks caused by the infamous sequester. That part of me wouldn't mind so much if the Republicans who saddled us with the sequester in the first place decided to find a way to fix this particular consequence of their misguided policy. After all, everyone - at least everyone who flies planes or who is depending on others arriving on time - would benefit.
On the other hand, there are far worse consequences to this misguided obsession with the deficit and cutting government spending - not least for the poorest among us, whose sufferings as a result of budget cuts will not generate comparable sympathy in the halls of power as will the inconveniences experienced by the rich.
A stupid policy that inconveniences the rich as well as the poor could, of course, be corrected in a way that equally honored everyone's pain. But what could be more counter-cultural than that? If those screaming about flight delays successfully pressure their representatives in Washington to fix their problem, those unrepresented in Washington will likely continue to suffer. Sequestration should be repealed rather than amended. But the more likely result will be yet another triumph of entitlement.

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