Entitlements - History

Entitlements - History

Entitlements - payments made to a person or government which meets the requirements enumerated in the law. Social Security benefits, military pensions, and Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC) are all entitlements.

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Nozick's entitlement theory comprises three main principles:

  1. A principle of justice in acquisition – This principle deals with the initial acquisition of holdings. It is an account of how people first come to own unowned and natural world property, what types of things can be held, and so forth.
  2. A principle of justice in transfer – This principle explains how one person can acquire holdings from another, including voluntary exchange and gifts.
  3. A principle of rectification of injustice – how to deal with holdings that are unjustly acquired or transferred, whether and how much victims can be compensated, how to deal with long past transgressions or injustices done by a government, and so on.

Nozick believes that if the world were wholly just, only the first two principles would be needed, as "the following inductive definition would exhaustively cover the subject of justice in holdings":

  1. A person who acquires a holding in accordance with the principle of justice in acquisition is entitled to that holding.
  2. A person who acquires a holding in accordance with the principle of justice in transfer, from someone else entitled to the holding, is entitled to the holding.
  3. No one is entitled to a holding except by (repeated) applications of 1 and 2. (Nozick 1974:151)

Thus, entitlement theory would imply "a distribution is just if everyone is entitled to the holdings they possess under the distribution" (Nozick 1974:151). However, not everyone follows these rules: "some people steal from others, or defraud them, or enslave them, seizing their product and preventing them from living as they choose, or forcibly exclude others from competing in exchanges" (Nozick 1974:152). Thus the third principle of rectification is needed.

Entitlement theory is based on John Locke's ideas. [1] Under entitlement theory, people are represented as ends in themselves and equals, as Kant claimed, though different people may own (i.e. be entitled to) different amounts of property. Nozick's ideas create a strong system of private property and a free-market economy. The only just transaction is a voluntary one. Taxation of the rich to support full robust social programs for the poor is unjust because the state is acquiring money by force instead of through a voluntary transaction. However, Nozick's ideas can endorse the creation of a minimal social program for the poor. Every person in the state of nature can achieve a certain level of welfare according to their own abilities. This level of welfare, while not equal, must be maintained via the Lockean proviso. Given the justice of acquisition condition and the Lockean proviso, "It is conceivable that in the normal operation of the economy, a private property regime might at some times, for some people, fail to provide access to this level of welfare when left to itself. If so, then justice—as the libertarian understands it—demands that the state act to correct the distribution of welfare generated by the spontaneous play of market forces." [2]

Entitlement theory contrasts sharply with the Principles of Justice in Rawls' A Theory of Justice, which states that each person has an equal claim to basic rights and liberties, and that inequality should only be permitted to the degree that such inequality is "reasonably expected to be to everyone's advantage" (Rawls 1999: 53). There is a further provision that such inequalities are only permissible insofar as there is an equality of opportunity to benefit from these inequalities. Nozick instead argues that people who have or produce certain things have rights over them: "on an entitlement view, [production and distribution] are not . separate questions . things come into the world already attached to people having entitlements over them" (Nozick 1974:160). Nozick believes that unjustly taking someone's holdings violates their rights. "Holdings to which . people are entitled may not be seized, even to provide equality of opportunity for others" (Nozick 1974:235). Thus, a system which works to reduce the rightfully earned holdings of some so that they can be equally distributed to others is immoral.

"The major objection to speaking of everyone's having a right to various things such as equality of opportunity, life, and so on, and enforcing this right, is that these 'rights' require a substructure of things and materials and actions and other people may have rights and entitlements over these. No one has a right to something whose realization requires certain uses of things and activities that other people have rights and entitlements over" (Nozick 1974:238).

In his later work The Examined Life, Nozick reflects that entitlement theory's defense of people's holdings may have some problems, in that it could eventually lead to the vast majority of resources being pooled in the hands of the extremely skilled, or, through gifts and inheritance, in the hands of the extremely skilled's friends and children. Nozick says:

"Bequeathing something to others is an expression of caring about them .. yet bequests [are] sometimes passed on for generations to persons unknown to the original earner, . producing continuing inequalities of wealth and position. .. The resulting inequalities seem unfair. One possible solution would be to restructure an institution of inheritance so that taxes will subtract from the possessions people can bequeath the value of what they themselves have received through bequests. People then could leave to others only the amount they themselves have added. The simple subtraction rule does not perfectly disentangle what the next generation has managed itself to contribute—inheriting wealth may make it easier to amass more—but it is a serviceable rule of thumb" (Nozick 1989:30-31).

Furthermore, the notion of taxation being inherently unjust, and market transactions being inherently just, depends on the notion that they actually are as involuntary or voluntary as they appear: in a nation that permits free emigration of its citizens, taxation is not entirely involuntary, while market transactions for necessary goods and services can hardly be said to be entirely voluntary, and if the wealthy, or organized labor, or those in control of de facto industry standards are able to exert undue influence on such a market, they frequently skew those transactions to favor their own interests.


America Before The Entitlement State

Reacting to calls for cuts in entitlement programs, House Democrat Henry Waxman fumed: "The Republicans want us to repeal the twentieth century." Sound bites don't get much better than that. After all, the world before the twentieth century--before the New Deal, the New Frontier, the Great Society--was a dark, dangerous, heartless place where hordes of Americans starved in the streets.

Except it wasn't and they didn't. The actual history of America shows something else entirely: picking your neighbors' pockets is not a necessity of survival. Before America's entitlement state, free individuals planned for and coped with tough times, taking responsibility for their own lives.

In the 19th century, even though capitalism had only existed for a short time, and had just started putting a dent in pre-capitalism's legacy of poverty, the vast, vast majority of Americans were already able to support their own lives through their own productive work. Only a tiny fraction of a sliver of a minority depended on assistance and aid--and there was no shortage of aid available to help that minority.

But in a culture that revered individual responsibility and regarded being "on the dole" as shameful, formal charity was almost always a last resort. Typically people who hit tough times would first dip into their savings. They might take out loans and get their hands on whatever commercial credit was available. If that wasn't enough, they might insist that other family members enter the workforce. And that was just the start.

"Those in need," historian Walter Trattner writes, ". . . looked first to family, kin, and neighbors for aid, including the landlord, who sometimes deferred the rent the local butcher or grocer, who frequently carried them for a while by allowing bills to go unpaid and the local saloonkeeper, who often came to their aid by providing loans and outright gifts, including free meals and, on occasion, temporary jobs. Next, the needy sought assistance from various agencies in the community--those of their own devising, such as churches or religious groups, social and fraternal associations, mutual aid societies, local ethnic groups, and trade unions."

One of the most fascinating phenomena to arise during this time were mutual aid societies--organizations that let people insure against the very risks that entitlement programs would later claim to address. These societies were not charities, but private associations of individuals. Those who chose to join would voluntarily pay membership dues in return for a defined schedule of benefits, which, depending on the society, could include life insurance, permanent disability, sickness and accident, old-age, or funeral benefits.

Mutual aid societies weren't private precursors to the entitlement state, with its one-size-fits-all schemes like Social Security and Medicare. Because the societies were private, they offered a wide range of options to fit a wide range of needs. And because they were voluntary, individuals joined only when the programs made financial sense to them. How many of us would throw dollar bills down the Social Security money pit if we had a choice?

Only when other options were exhausted would people turn to formal private charities. By the mid-nineteenth century, groups aiming to help widows, orphans, and other "worthy poor" were launched in every major city in America. There were some government welfare programs, but they were minuscule compared to private efforts.

In 1910, in New York State, for instance, 151 private benevolent groups provided care for children, and 216 provided care for adults or adults with children. If you were homeless in Chicago in 1933, for example, you could find shelter at one of the city's 614 YMCAs, or one of its 89 Salvation Army barracks, or one of its 75 Goodwill Industries dormitories.

"In fact," writes Trattner, "so rapidly did private agencies multiply that before long America's larger cities had what to many people was an embarrassing number of them. Charity directories took as many as 100 pages to list and describe the numerous voluntary agencies that sought to alleviate misery, and combat every imaginable emergency."

It all makes you wonder: If Americans could thrive without an entitlement state a century ago, how much easier would it be today, when Americans are so rich that 95 percent of our "poor" own color TVs? But we won't get rid of the entitlement state until we get rid of today's widespread entitlement mentality, and return to a society in which individual responsibility is the watchword.


International Liberty

Writing about federal spending last week, I shared five charts illustrating how the process works and what’s causing America’s fiscal problems.

Most important, I showed that the ever-increasing burden of federal spending is almost entirely the result of domestic spending increasing much faster than what would be needed to keep pace with inflation.

And when I further sliced and diced the numbers, I showed that outlays for entitlements (programs such as Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, and Obamacare) were the real problem.

John Cogan, writing for the Wall Street Journal, summarizes our current predicament.

Since the end of World War II, federal tax revenue has grown 15% faster than national income—while federal spending has grown 50% faster. …all—yes, all—of the increase in federal spending relative to GDP over the past seven decades is attributable to entitlement spending. Since the late 1940s, entitlement claims on the nation’s output of goods and services have risen from less than 4% to 14%. …If you’re seeking the reason for the federal government’s chronic budget deficits and crushing national debt, look no further than entitlement programs. …entitlement spending accounts for nearly two-thirds of federal spending. …What about the future? Social Security and Medicare expenditures are accelerating now that baby boomers have begun to collect their government-financed retirement and health-care benefits. If left unchecked, these programs will push government spending to levels never seen during peacetime. Financing this spending will require either record levels of taxation or debt.

Here’s a chart from his column. Only instead of looking at inflation-adjusted growth of past spending, he looks at what will happen to future entitlement spending, measured as a share of economic output.

And he concludes with a very dismal point.

…restraint is not possible without presidential leadership. Unfortunately, President Trump has failed to step up.

I largely agree. Trump has nominally endorsed some reforms, but the White House hasn’t expended the slightest bit of effort to fix any of the entitlement programs.

Now let’s see what another expert has to say on the topic. Brian Riedl of the Manhattan Institute paints a rather gloomy picture in an article for National Review.

…the $82 trillion avalanche of Social Security and Medicare deficits that will come over the next three decades elicits a collective shrug. Future historians — and taxpayers — are unlikely to forgive our casual indifference to what has been called “the most predictable economic crisis in history.” …Between 2008 and 2030, 74 million Americans born between 1946 and 1964 — or 10,000 per day — will retire into Social Security and Medicare. And despite trust-fund accounting games, all spending will be financed by current taxpayers. That was all right in 1960, when five workers supported each retiree. The ratio has since fallen below three-to-one today, on its way to two-to-one by the 2030s. …These demographic challenges are worsened by rising health-care costs and repeated benefit expansions from Congress. Today’s typical retiring couple has paid $140,000 into Medicare and will receive $420,000 in benefits (in net present value)… Most Social Security recipients also come out ahead. In other words, seniors are not merely getting back what they paid in. …the spending avalanche has already begun. Since 2008 — when the first Baby Boomers qualified for early retirement — Social Security and Medicare have accounted for 72 percent of all inflation-adjusted federal-spending growth (with other health entitlements responsible for the rest). …

Brian speculates on what will happen if politicians kick the can down the road.

…something has to give. Will it be responsible policy changes now, or a Greek-style crisis of debt and taxes later? …Restructuring cannot wait. Every year of delay sees 4 million more Baby Boomers retire and get locked into benefits that will be difficult to alter… Unless Washington reins in Social Security and Medicare, no tax cuts can be sustained over the long run. Ultimately, the math always wins. …Frédéric Bastiat long ago observed that “government is the great fiction through which everybody endeavors to live at the expense of everybody else.” Reality will soon fall like an anvil on Generation X and Millennials, as they find themselves on the wrong side of the largest intergenerational wealth transfer in world history.

Not exactly a cause for optimism!

Last but not least, Charles Hughes writes on the looming entitlement crisis for E21.

Medicare and Social Security already account for roughly two-fifths of all federal outlays, and they will account for a growing share of the federal budget over the coming decade. …Entitlement spending growth is a major reason that budget deficits are projected to surge over the next decade. …The unsustainable nature of these programs face mean that some reforms will have to be implemented: the only questions are when and what kind of changes will be made. The longer these reforms are put off, the inevitable changes will by necessity be larger and more abrupt. …Without real reform, the important task of placing entitlement programs back on a sustainable trajectory will be left for later generations—at which point the country will be farther down this unsustainable path.

By the way, it’s not just libertarians and conservatives who recognize there is a problem.

There have been several proposals from centrists and bipartisan groups to address the problem, such as the Simpson-Bowles plan, the Debt Reduction Task Force, and Obama’s Fiscal Commission.

For what it’s worth, I’m not a big fan of these initiatives since they include big tax increases. And oftentimes, they even propose the wrong kind of entitlement reform.

Heck, even folks on the left recognize there’s a problem. Paul Krugman correctly notes that America is facing a massive demographic shift that will lead to much higher levels of spending. And he admits that entitlement spending is driving the budget further into the red. That’s a welcome acknowledgement of reality.

A note on the folly of tax cuts. The US govt is an insurance company with an army its expenses dominated by the elderly — and the ratio of >65 to working-age is rising sharply 1/ pic.twitter.com/AZA8ue0kBQ

&mdash Paul Krugman (@paulkrugman) February 28, 2018

Sadly, he concludes that we should somehow fix this spending problem with tax hikes.

That hasn’t worked for Europe, though, so it’s silly to think that same tax-and-spend approach will work for the United States.

I’ll close by also offering some friendly criticism of conservatives and libertarians. If you read what Cogan, Riedl, and Hughes wrote, they all stated that entitlement programs were a problem in part because they would produce rising levels of red ink.

It’s certainly true that deficits and debt will increase in the absence of genuine entitlement reform, but what irks me about this rhetoric is that a focus on red ink might lead some people to conclude that rising levels of entitlements somehow wouldn’t be a problem if matched by big tax hikes.

Wrong. Tax-financed spending diverts resources from the private economy, just as debt-financed spending diverts resources from the private economy.

In other words, the real problem is spending, not how it’s financed.


Review: The High Cost of Good Intentions: A History of U.S. Federal Entitlement Programs

Dr. Mark Thornton ([email protected]) is Senior Fellow at the Mises Institute and Book Review Editor of the Quarterly Journal of Austrian Economics.

Quarterly Journal of Austrian Economics 21, no. 4 (Winter 2018) full issue, click here.

Entitlement programs such as Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid are the “elephant in the room” for America. They are projected to expand enormously and to destroy the US economy in the coming decades, but little is being discussed or implemented to address the seriousness of the issue. Indeed, the trend has been to expand entitlements over the last half century.

Economist Lawrence Kotlikoff has estimated that the present value of the “fiscal gap,” i.e. the projected entitlement expenditures minus projected entitlement tax revenues, to be in excess of $200 trillion! That figure leads me to thoughts of hyperinflation and the severe damage it can do to society.

One approach towards improving our understanding of the issue and the problems it causes is by studying the history of entitlements. John Cogan provides an excellent introduction and overview of entitlements in The High Cost of Good Intentions: A History of U.S. Federal Entitlement Programs.

Cogan describes the current state of affairs as: “The scale of federal entitlement assistance today is unmatched in human history. … While the massive expenditure has significantly reduced poverty among senior citizens, poverty rates for all other adults and for children are no lower today than they were a half century ago.” (pp. 1, 2)

However, the idea that poverty rates are still as high for non-seniors can only be sustained if you ignore all the monetary and nonmonetary benefits that the “poor” are given. When those benefits are accounted for, the people in the bottom of the income distribution statistics are not much worse off than the working middle class. (Gramm and Ekelund, 2018)

Cogan’s historical investigation finds at least two major problems. The first is that as “well meaning and beneficial as many entitlements may be, they have come at a high cost. They have undermined the natural human desire for self-sufficiency and self-improvement.” The second problem is the book’s central theme: “the creation of entitlements brings forth relentless forces that cause them to inexorably expand.” (p. 4)

President Franklin Roosevelt’s “New Deal” and Lyndon Johnson’s “Great Society” produced the modern and most famous entitlements, but the history of U.S. entitlement programs is much longer and broader. Indeed, this deeper history highlights some important lessons about the origin, growth, and reform of entitlements.

The early entitlement programs were targeted at war veterans and followed similar paths of development. The Revolutionary War initially provided entitlement benefits to members of the Continental Army and Navy who were disabled during the war and to family members of those killed in the war. Benefits were extended over time to veterans of the state militias, those who were disabled after the war and eventually to all living veterans. Thus a disability program was transformed into a pension program.

The Civil War, WWI and other military conflicts resulted in military entitlements too. At first, they were limited to veterans that were disabled during the war. The entitlements expanded on the backs of budget surpluses to include veterans disabled after the war and eventually to all remaining veterans. The good thing about entitlements for veterans is that if you do not have wars, eventually the entitlement will be retired for lack of beneficiaries.

The early navy pension fund was financed from the sale of captured ships and cargos of enemy boats, e.g. pirates. As the fund expanded, Congress voted to increase benefits to such an extent that they completely drained the fund and the pensions had to be supported with general funds. Therefore, it is a likely precursor of Social Security, how it expanded and what will become of it.

In Chapter 7 Cogan deals with the birth of the modern entitlement state: the New Deal. It was a “progressive” revolution. Prior to the New Deal, most assistance for the needy was provided by the private sector: mostly civic organizations, clubs, and churches. There was also assistance provided by state and local governments.

Here Cogan finds that it is not just Congress behaving badly, but also the beneficiaries who have bad incentives. “Regardless of where eligibility rules were drawn, the provision of assistance would create incentives for potential recipients to modify their behavior to qualify for aid, often in ways detrimental to their own long-run interests.” (p. 82) In today’s framework, this would be people gaining enough body weight to qualify for disability benefits.

Early “outdoor relief” provided money to people who were unable to provide for themselves. However, this was found to encourage too many people to request aid who were actually able bodied. In response, governments started emphasizing “indoor relief” where the poor elderly would be housed and feed in almshouses, children in orphanages, the insane in mental asylums, and the able bodied in workhouses. This not only reduced people seeking assistance, but it also provided progressive reformers the opportunity to save the souls and livers of the retched.

One surprise from the book was that President Franklin Roosevelt opposed most entitlement benefits for veterans. He was able to successfully cut those benefits, at least temporarily. His vision was that government benefits should not be based on class, i.e. military service, but should rather be open to all Americans. Roosevelt’s approach led to the largest reductions in entitlement spending for veterans in US history and “served as a template nearly fifty years later for Ronald Reagan, the only other twentieth-century president to achieve significant entitlement restraint.” (pp. 74–75)

Roosevelt’s New Deal was first and foremost about providing security, so it included Social Security and unemployment insurance where individuals pay in over time and eventually collect benefits. Cogan shows that the Supreme Court was a big part of the problem. He does not deal with Roosevelt’s preferred approach to relief, that of make-work jobs and public works. It should be noted that his approach not only sounded better to taxpayers, in that it required work and produced public goods, but it also served as an enormous source of political patronage that sustained FDR politically throughout the 1930s.

One deficiency of the book is its seemingly intentional neglect of the role of ideology. For example, he mentions all of the progressive characters that were responsible for bringing New Deal entitlements to life, as described by Rothbard (1996). However, he does not discuss the deep ideological themes that unite them. In the background of progressive thinking there is the drive to create a heaven on earth in preparation for the return of Jesus. In the foreground there is the statist ideology of Progressivism, the American version of socialism. Ideology explains the why, when and where of the emergence and evolution of entitlements throughout this period.

The book goes on to report on post-WWII entitlement programs, such as the GI Bill, the continuous expansion of Social Security entitlements, and the failure to introduce national health insurance before coming to President Lyndon Johnson’s War on Poverty. The Johnson administration had promised that the welfare rolls would shrink with his policies. Instead, like most other such promises, the number of people on the rolls soared to record levels. Instead of being lifted up, the welfare family was increasingly living in broken homes due to illegitimacy, divorce, separation, and desertion.

According to Cogan “Welfare was also becoming a way of life for an increasing number of AFDC households. … The bold and confident promises of the War on Poverty’s architects were turning out to be empty.” The cost of the programs was skyrocketing far beyond projections.

Shockingly, according to Cogan:

The main beneficiaries were the service providers, mainly middle-class professional social workers in and outside of government welfare agencies, educators in schools of social work, legal services lawyers and academicians. The federal government was spending more on professional social workers than on school lunches for poor children. (p. 207)

The rest of the book chronicles the period from the late 1960s to the present. It’s not a pretty picture. With few exceptions, entitlement programs have gotten worse. The only bright side is that this experience vindicates economic and public choice theory. Politicians have continuously used our taxes to buy votes, not to help people, just as theory would predict. Theory also correctly predicts that some people, namely recipients and bureaucrats, would take advantage of entitlement-welfare programs. Predictably, this has led some unfortunate people to lead a dull, lazy, almost inhuman existence. The failure of all the reforms to entitlements is testament that these problems are part of the very nature of such programs.

I never detected an overt ideological aversion to entitlements in Cogan’s book. Rather it was his frustration and concern for the country’s future that was evident. For instance, in the case of Social Security and Medicare, he concludes that:

Together these now massive entitlements can, by themselves, afford many retirees a middle-class standard of living, often supplanting other meaningful sources of retirement wealth that retirees would have accumulated in the absence of these entitlements. (p. 376)

He expresses the frustration of the working class when noting that welfare benefits are increased during recessions when others are hurting and they are also increased during expansions when the working class is paying more taxes and creating budget surpluses.

He concludes that the entitlement programs have worsened the problems they were designed to solve and are now giving out massive subsidies to the non-poor.

In 2015, only 26 percent of all cash entitlement assistance was spent to reduce the extent of poverty. Including the market value of in-kind benefits, only 21 percent of entitlement assistance went to alleviating poverty. Sixty-three percent of all cash and in-kind benefits distributed to poor persons was over and above the amount necessary to lift them from poverty. (p. 382)

The problems of entitlements are intractable and solutions are vexing, to say the least. This book proves it.


Entitlements - History

Hi @Buda56, what size of file do you have, and for payroll reports, how many employees? Is your test file local or in the cloud? A test in the cloud is worthwhile - I am starting to see comments from MYOB partners that speed in the cloud is better now for larger files.

There is a timeout extender available on request from MYOB which may help you get your reports out.

I expect you have read and applied all the relevant topics from the help notes relating to performance.

Regards, Mike ([email protected])
DataWise Limited (www.datawise.co.nz), developers of:
DataWise Report Writer - Custom Reporting from MYOB programs
(Including AccountRight Classic/Live, and exo Payroll)

Thanks for your comments, I have sent some enquiries to the Developers but it takes them 3 days to respond. We have found the API to be seriously lacking in its ability to access information (particularly compared to the ODBC drivers).

We are in the same boat, we have reports developed on data supplied by the ODBC drivers that we cannot re-produce using the API and this is stopping us from upgrading past out current version (V19) of MYOB.

We are running a test version of 2018.2 to develop against and have found it to be extremely slow compared to V19. Trying to run basic reports from within the new version of MYOB just time out.


The role of policy

Many factors can contribute to entitlement failure. For example, slight imbalances in production can lead to large increases or declines in price. But government policies can also cause entitlement failures. It can be argued, for example, that the Bangladesh famine of 1974, which was precipitated by the effects of widespread flooding, would have been less severe if the state’s food- rationing system had not been in place. The rationing system was flawed because it provided subsidized rationed food to only the country’s urban population. In 1974, despite higher-than-usual rice production, there was a slight shortage of per capita food availability, because the United States temporarily halted routine food aid over its objections to Bangladesh’s trade with Cuba. If the shortage had been shared out across the country, there would have been little hardship. But the rationing system kept the supplies of food in the urban centres, thereby affecting the entitlements of rural Bangladeshis and ultimately causing famine and some one million deaths.

During the Ethiopian famine of 1973, the country’s overall food productivity did not decline—in other words, according to the FAD hypothesis, there should not have been a famine. Yet, in the province of Wollo and to a lesser extent in Tigray, residents suffered famine exacerbated by entitlement failures that were made worse by the poor system of transport between regions.

A less proximate cause of famines can be the nature of a country’s political system. As Sen pointed out, democracy serves as a natural bulwark against famines. In a democratic system coupled with a free press, the occurrence of a famine will inevitably reduce the popularity of the government thus, the fear of being voted out of power motivates democratic governments to take measures to prevent or at least mitigate famines. In the western Indian state of Maharashtra, for example, droughts in the early 1970s severely affected a large area with a population of about 20 million. The resulting food shortages would have caused a famine if the government had not intervened by delivering food (from buffer stocks) and initiating massive employment-relief programs. Although there was a small rise in mortality, there were no recorded “starvation deaths.” In contrast, it is arguable that the catastrophic kind of famine that occurred in China in 1959–61 could not have happened in a democratic country. Chinese censorship prevented the world (and the Chinese people themselves) from understanding the enormity of the famine until well after the tragedy had occurred. Even decades later, mortality statistics continued to be disputed.

It should be noted that statistics on famine mortality are always difficult to establish, because, contrary to a widely held view, in most famines only a small proportion of deaths are the direct result of starvation. The chief cause of death is usually disease, which can continue long after the famine has officially ended. In the Bengal famine, for example, deaths from starvation occurred between the critical months of March and November 1943, but the overall death rate did not peak until later—in the period from December 1943 through December 1944, when most deaths were caused by cholera, malaria, and smallpox.


How do I delegate access?

Access packages are defined in containers called catalogs. You can have a single catalog for all your access packages, or you can designate individuals to create and own their own catalogs. An administrator can add resources to any catalog, but a non-administrator can only add to a catalog the resources that they own. A catalog owner can add other users as catalog co-owners, or as access package managers. These scenarios are described further in the article delegation and roles in Azure AD entitlement management.


The origin is hard to pin down

While there are many origin stories for the Karen meme, it's not totally clear where it came from, as is the case with many memes.

"The origins of Karen are kind of really hard to pin down," Schimkowitz said.

Schimkowitz said the most convincing theory is that the character originated from a Dane Cook comedy special that aired in 2005.

"Every group has a Karen, and she is always a bag of douche," Cook said in the routine. "And when she's not around, you just look at each other and say, 'God, Karen, she's such a douchebag!'"

Many associate the use of Karen in a pejorative sense with "Mean Girls," which came out a year earlier, in 2004.

The movie's line "Oh, my God, Karen — you can't just ask people why they're white" has been used as a meme over the years.

Still, the Karen meme wouldn't become popular until a decade later.

Jay Pharoah joked about women named Karen in his 2015 comedy special, "Can I Be Me?" In an October 2020 interview with PeopleTV, Pharoah said that he didn't know about Cook's special at the time, but that he'd been making the Karen joke for years.

The subreddit r/F---YouKaren was created in 2017, according to Know Your Meme, where it has amassed more than 600,000 members.

The page's description says it's "dedicated to the hatred of Karen" and its profile picture is of Gosselin.

Also in 2018, memes about Karen being an ex-wife who wanted to take the kids in the divorce began circulating online, Know Your Meme said.

Gosselin and her husband divorced in 2009, which spawned a 10-year custody battle over their kids.


The Rise of the Entitlement Mentality

Do your employees believe that they do not have to earn what they are given? Do they believe that they get something because they are owed it, because they are entitled to it? Do they think they should get what they want because of who they are, not because of what they do?

It is, perhaps, one of the most frustrating experiences in managing human resources: You go to great lengths and expense to design compensation and benefit plans that will keep employees motivated and happy, and, over time, employees come to expect them as their due. Privileges become rights and perks lose their power to improve performance, which means that the benefits bar is raised higher and higher. Expenses soar, eating into the bottom line.

This ironic reality is a phenomenon called “employee entitlement.” It manifests itself in the workplace in many ways: the poor performer who asks for a severance package after being fired, the employee who fails to meet sales goals but demands a bonus anyway, or those who expect bonuses just for fulfilling the basic bullet points on a job description.

The origin of the employee entitlement phenomenon can be traced back to a faulty ‘psychological contract’ between the organization and the employee. It is an implicit understanding on the part of an employee about what he or she contributes to the organization and what can be expected from it in return. This contract is usually formed by a combination of an employee’s personal history – experiences at other companies, for example – and by what a manager states or subtly hints concerning what the employee will receive for his efforts. When the employee expects to receive what the manager is promising (either directly or indirectly), the result is a feeling of entitlement to everything that the employee actually gets.

Expressed simply, entitlement is the result of too much generosity. It occurs when we give people what they expect while not holding them accountable for meeting our criteria for excellence. In business, it typically happens because managers are unwilling to do the hard work that comes with requiring excellence. Frequently, it is a result of wanting to avoid conflict and bad feelings. Or, it arises from pity: we do not hold people accountable for results because we do not think they can perform. Whatever the reason, over time, employees feel entitled when they have so much security that they do not have to earn their rewards.

When people do not have to earn what they get, they soon take for granted what they receive. The real irony is that they are not grateful for what they get. Instead, they want more. It is the terrible cycle of entitlement. Here are some strategies to help you eliminate this attitude within your organization.

  • Increase Accountability Through Evaluations – Employees need to be held accountable for doing real work, and that work must be evaluated. The bulk of the accountability must be for the core job functions, or most important parts of a person’s responsibilities. In other words, identify what is “real work” and decide how to evaluate it. Then reinforce evaluation results by tying compensation to performance.
  • Require Ongoing Risk Taking – Since entitlement is the result of too little risk, organizations should require that people experience challenge on an ongoing basis, even without a job change. Using this strategy, employees are not allowed to become or to remain narrowly-focused experts, nor are they permitted to become complacent, because tackling new assignments require learning and risk taking.
  • Increase Visibility and Peer Pressure – The key here is to make employee performance more visible, and you do that by flattening the hierarchy. Within complex structures, workers can hide in bureaucracy by handing decisions up, creating committees or by otherwise passing along responsibilities. With a leaner and flatter structure, everyone is more visible.
  • Reward Differentially, Increase Conditionally – The compensation packages being offered at many companies are changing. More and more, employees are paid for contribution, not status. As this transition occurs, people come to realize that they can directly influence their rewards by how much they contribute. Those who make a greater contribution earn more, and seniority loses its place in the equation. Increasingly, companies are disclosing more financial information and making it clear “If we are profitable, you get a bonus.” Rewards are possible, but there are conditions to be met.
  • Make Leadership Visible – Employees typically look to their leaders to assure them that the future will be better. Most deal with their sense of vulnerability by depending on those in command. As a leader, increase your approachability employees need to know that they can gain access to management. Get out of the office – literally. Be seen talking to people. Have lunch in the company cafeteria stop and talk to people in all areas of the organization.
  • Create Trust in the Organization – Employees want to find strength and continuity in their institutions. Trust is increased when leadership identifies and addresses any discrepancies between management statements and actions. Make sure your mission and vision are not just statements hanging on the wall.
  • Publicize Achievements and Restore Confidence – During times of anxiety, employees will need a sense that the organization is successfully coping with the details as a signal that it can tackle larger problems. Therefore, even small increments of problem solving success should be publicized. Similarly, people who accomplish goals must be heralded. Reward contributions visibly and significantly.
  • Create Procedures to Enforce Fairness – People need to be assured that they are protected from bias or prejudice on the part of those who control what happens to them. This can be communicated by building the protection of fairness into the system. Be sure that your organization’s performance evaluations, compensation, promotion, and other HR practices are consistent, legal and fair.
  • Communicate Goals and Plans – Leaders need to communicate that they have significant influence, if not outright control, over the present and future direction of the organization. Translate general goals into very concrete ones. Create specific targets, identify key competitors, and create a consistent, meaningful way of measuring overall performance.
  • Empower –Empowerment means sharing power and increasing autonomy throughout the organization. It means giving everyone – not just people with certain positions or certain job titles – the legitimate right to make judgments, form conclusions, reach decisions, and then act. The result of this is ownership – literally, a feeling of responsibility for organizational outcomes, and a subsequent breaking down of entitlement.

Uprooting entitlement is not easy. It is difficult to get people to give up the warm blanket of protection. Those who have been accustomed to years of entitlement will sometimes resist even small increments of risk, avoid accountability and flee from evaluations. Often, entitlement is embedded in an organization’s rules and enshrined in its culture. In these cases, it can take a significant shock to the system – the motivation that comes with a crisis – to change things. But see how the benefits outweigh the challenges of the effort and act now it’s time to BREAK IT!

We are a trusted partner to help people and organizations meet their goals , contact YPHR today to learn more information about our training topics and other services.

Amy B. Shannon is the President of Pinnacle Leadership Solutions, LLC, and a Partner at Your Partner in HR. She has specialized in Organizational Development, Human Resources, Leadership Training and Executive Coaching for over 20 years. She focuses her time in the executive coaching and leadership facilitator roles.

The best advice given to her clients is to view learning as a new adventure and embrace lifelong learning as a way of life.

Professionally, Amy feels a sense of accomplishment when her coaching clients achieve their goals or receive promotions as a direct result of working on their interpersonal skills! Her greatest corporate accomplishment was establishing a corporate university in three languages and eight countries along with becoming a speaker at the Disney Institute. Personally, above all, her two boys!


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