A Nation of Moochers: America’s Addiction to Getting Something for Nothing

Charles J. Sykes. St. Martin’s, $25.99 (320p) ISBN 978-0-312-54770-7
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Sykes (A Nation of Victims) argues that hardworking, tax-paying Americans are being turned into the nation’s piggy bank by freeloading “moochers,” both individual and corporate, who have given in to a culture of dependence and free lunch. He lays all this squarely at the feet of “elite” liberals, whose “Assumption of Incompetence”—the default position of assuming that most Americans are incapable and thus must be cared for—has cultivated an atmosphere where people are no longer required to fend for themselves. He points to Katrina victims misusing benefits, homeowners who walk away from underwater mortgages, unemployment benefits fraudsters, adult children living with their parents, big businesses accepting bailouts, and, somewhat less persuasively, food stamps and free school lunches. Though he doesn’t make an especially strong case that “Obamacare” is to blame, his argument is sobering: we’ve set up a system in which dependency begins at birth and extends through people’s entire lives, which has brought us to a tipping point in which more Americans are relying on the efforts of others rather than their own. Interestingly, his cure is less systemic than social: he suggests “dismantling Moocher Nation” by restoring some of the stigma of accepting a handout. Though at times verging on the purely mean-spirited (recall the school lunches), his call for a return to personal responsibility is on point and persuasive. (Jan.)
Reviewed on: 10/17/2011
Release date: 01/17/2012
Paperback - 307 pages - 978-1-250-02232-5
Open Ebook - 320 pages - 978-1-4299-5107-4
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