Editorial: Yes, there are takers among us

Jan. 24, 2013 @ 07:06 PM

President Barack Obama had no subtlety on delivery Monday during his 18-minute inauguration speech.

He firmly rejected our country as “a nation of takers.” Those four words were a bold message to Mitt Romney, who last fall said Obama’s support was from the 47 percent of American voters “dependent upon government, who believe that they are victims, who believe the government has a responsibility to care for them, who believe that they are entitled to health care, to food, to housing, to you-name-it.”

We have no intention of defending Romney today. We offer no subtlety either. The president is either in denial or out of touch with reality in areas of the country where poverty and unemployment are high, like here in Vance County.

Americans are taking advantage of the system. When work is available but benefits from the government are the same or better, the “free” ride is a very popular choice. We don’t know about “47 percent,” but we do know Obama has responsibility for many people depending on the government.

Our country needs working people immediately. We need them in the tax base, to “have some skin in the game” to borrow a phrase from our former state lawmaker Jim Crawford Jr.

The wealthy should pay a fair share. Their loopholes should be closed.

We need to care for others in distress, but being taken advantage of is in no one’s best interests. We are opposed to a continued trend lacking incentive for the impoverished and unemployed to be part of the work force.

Educational leaders including our president are trumpeting science, technology, engineering and mathematics. But talk to a recent college graduate who can’t find work in his field and then find agreement with us that diversity among job seekers is sorely needed.

The basics of education are not a thing of the past. There are many levels of workers between minimum wage, those in a STEM path and those in a path better than STEM subjects.

Our society is best when more are educated, employed and contributing to their communities. We don’t get there with an abundance of free rides, nor with everybody in a STEM school.

We’ll take better care of each other when everybody has some skin to share.