The question of the United States national budget and any resolutions to this dire struggle are deeply rooted in the controversial ideas presented by Thomas Malthus in an excerpt, “An Essay on the Principle of Population” that states, “… in every society in which the population increases it will eventually produce more people than it can feed, thereby condemning a certain percentage of the population to live beneath the subsistence level” (324). The idea that the general public is unaware of overpopulation or the contingency of it is appalling. The subsistence level that Malthus refers to was sought to be rectified by the government’s development of entitlement programs such as Medicaid, Medicare, and Social Security, established to provide for low- income members of society. These personal financial benefits are funded through the national budget, and have proved constraining on the country’s overall growth and have attributed to the national debt crisis. The number of people benefiting from these entitlements was to be coextensive to the overall condition of the economy, but the neglect to regulate this has brought the United States to its current predicament. We are now at a point of making cut-throat decisions concerning these programs. Garrett Hardin’s essay, “Lifeboat Ethics: The case against Helping the Poor,” utilizes a metaphor of a lifeboat in the ocean that has a limited capacity, surrounded by swimmers eagerly wanting to survive. The swimmers in his scenario are at the mercy of the lifeboat occupants who are posed with the moral dilemma of rescuing some versus none. If these programs are cut or reformed in any way, some will suffer; some will stay in the water, but whom, the elderly? How about the low- income families living in poverty, or perhaps the hard working retiree who has served his time in society’s workforce? Population pressures continue to tip the balance against many developing...
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