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Let’s discourage a welfare mentality

Happy holidays Bermuda! I absolutely love Bermuda and Bermudians. I’m blessed to live in and be from a really cool place.

My comments in this article are in no way a display of insensitivity to people who are less fortunate than I am.

I understand that it is only by the grace and favour of God that I am not currently unemployed, drawing social assistance and/or dealing with everything that goes along with that.

However, I am concerned about the welfare mentality that I have seen creep in with some Bermudians over the past few years.

Has anyone noticed or heard about the trend of Bermudians going to the UK and essentially living off the system?

You have never contributed a penny to the UK coffers, paid no taxes in that country but presume the right to go away and live off the system, for years?

I would condone this for a short while everybody can use a hand up but to think that this is sustainable long-term is flawed, lazy and selfish thinking.

Bear in mind also, that by ’living off the system‘ for an extended period, you are not likely to be employable when you decide that you just might like to return to the land of the working.

There will be no recent work experience on your resume and employers like to know who you’ve been working for and/or what you’ve been doing for the last few years.

I have learned that in life there are no free lunches. If you get one, it just means that somebody else paid for it.

A society and an economy work best when a high majority of the people ‘eat what they kill’ or, at a minimum, are contributing to the economy rather than taking from it.

I was watching the BBC the other day and a Nobel Prize-winning economist was saying that if your parents are poor or “working class“, there is a high probability that you too will be poor/working class unless you make a concerted effort to change the history of your family.

This is what we must instil in our people — the desire to do better, strive for more, give future generations a better life.

I have a theory: every generation should do better than the previous generation.

If a person has a master’s degree, their offspring should strive to have a doctorate/PhD.

Notice I didn’t say a bachelor’s degree. If you really want to give yourself and your family a better life, start by raising the bar in every way.

One of the best gifts that a parent can give a child is the best education possible given the family’s circumstances.

If all you give your child is a good education, then you’ve done something.

With a good education, a person can usually figure life out such that they are able to be self-sufficient and not be a burden on society.

Continuing my theory of each generation doing better than the previous one, if I own one house my offspring should own two houses, per child otherwise the family wealth isn’t growing; the next generation is not doing better than the previous one.

To do this takes sacrifices. I love children and believe that children are a blessing and an honour.

Having too many children, especially as a young person (ie a teenager), or being unmarried or not in a long-term relationship with the child’s other parent, will increase the probability that you will not lawfully be able to do better than your parents.

Don’t shoot the messenger! The truth may offend but it is still the truth.

I remember a former Minister a few years ago once said: ”The Government wasn’t in the bedroom when the babies were made so why should the Government pay for them?“

The former Minister makes a good point.

We have to eliminate the welfare mentality in some of our people.

In Bermuda we like to dress things up and say them nicely so as not to offend. Well, I’m going to break that trend and do what I do, which is keep it real.

Social assistance is what they call welfare in the US of A. If you’re on social assistance or getting the child day care allowance you’re on welfare.

Don’t try to dress it up; it is what it is.

We have to remember the axiom: “If you give a man a fish, you feed him for a day but if you teach him how to fish, he will be able to feed himself and his family for the rest of his life.”

Let’s teach our people how to fish.

How about a system that requires people on welfare/social assistance to actually do some work?

There have to be things that these people can do whilst they’re receiving the benefit of social assistance painting senior citizens’ homes, volunteering or working at the hospital.

They need to do something so they’re not just collecting a cheque and giving nothing in return.

Another option is to have persons on welfare be required to go to school.

So if you’re receiving the cheque, you have to enrol in some course or educational programme that will help you to eventually find a job.

Hopefully the economy improves soon, so that more people who want to work can find jobs, get off welfare and start becoming self-sufficient.

Let’s hope that the new Government, new Cabinet et al are receptive to recommendations from persons who work in the field and who probably know best what should be done to improve the situation and reduce peoples‘ dependence on the Government for financial help.

Entertainers Chris Brown, left, and Rihanna attend an NBA basketball game between the Los Angeles Lakers and New York Knicks in Los Angeles, Tuesday, Dec. 25, 2012. The Lakers won 100-94. (AP Photo/Alex Gallardo)

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Published December 28, 2012 at 8:00 am (Updated December 27, 2012 at 6:45 pm)

Let’s discourage a welfare mentality

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