My Mom is living off the proceeds from selling her house, my Dad’s small pension, and her equally small social security checks. She is not flush with cash but, thanks to having owned a house in San Francisco, even with today’s minimal interest rates, she still has enough to last her for a few years. In addition, Mom’s first cousin, who is very wealthy, generously sends my mom a nice check every Christmas. This last one is, of course, purely a gift. The fact that it is a gift, however, did not stop Mom from calling me today (the checks are sent to my address) to ask, “Did she send a big check? You know, she owes me a lot of money?”
That reminded me, of course, of the Jewish joke about the beggar who sits outside an office building. Every Monday, a businessman working in the building makes it a point to give the beggar $10. This goes on for quite some time but, one Monday, things change. Instead of handing the beggar a $10 bill, the businessman hands the beggar a $5 bill.
“What’s this?” asks the surprised beggar. “You always give me $10.”
“I’m sorry,” the man replies, “but business has been very bad lately.”
To which the beggar responds, “Just because your business is bad, I should suffer?”
Too many people, my mother included, lack a sense of gratitude and operate purely from a sense of entitlement. This is something worth thinking about when it comes to America’s welfare policies.