In response to “Death to the self-help movement?”
Frequent contributor LARRY WINGET wrote a piece on “The corruption of the self-help movement” (see page 27) that originally appeared online. Many of our readers had very strong opinions about that article. See their comments below.

Baby boomers were born between 1946 and 1964, but you are lumping all of them together. A lot of our systems over the past few years have been abused by those who feel they are owed. Our system is so loaded with errors, and people abuse the system by lying on forms. What about our [government] representatives setting an example for the people they represent? It all started somewhere and was allowed to be abused. In order to correct this mess, what would be a good place to start? People are just fed up with all the oversight and no one taking steps to help correct our systems.
– Sue

Remember when teachers, public employees, NPR and PBS crashed the stock market, wiped out half our 401(k)s, took trillions in taxpayer-funded bailouts, spilled oil in the Gulf, gave themselves billions in bonuses, and paid no taxes?
– Jake Miller

There are a lot of things wrong with the self-help movement, but moving from a help-yourself to an entitlement mentality is not one of them. Entitlement comes from a family culture of over-dependency resulting from not having to worry about whether there is anything for dinner (or where it came from). It starts early in childhood–kids catch it from their parents. Your description of the self-help movement is accurate enough, but I don’t get the connection between it and entitlement. If there is one, either there’s more to your column or I’m an idiot.
– William

I do not disagree with most of your article. I do believe it is a little bit simplistic. In today’s complex world, to be independent and financially successful requires substantial education and/or training. Unfortunately, our politicians at all levels are ignoring the number of people in our country that are not getting well educated. If every individual has a good education and self-confidence the problem you discuss would not exist.
– Flem Messer

This article is right on. And to make matters worse, our current president is hell-bent on turning the U.S. into a socialist state.
– David Margraf

While I agree with many items in this article, I do not agree with the statement “Folks believe they are owed retirement income, even though they spent every dime they had their entire working lives with little or no thought about what would happen in the future.” We have been forced to pay Social Security tax since we began working, and have been told that it is for our use during retirement. Just because the politicians have chosen to, in essence, steal these funds from us and use them for other than what they were intended does not mean that I should just be OK with it and not expect what I was promised. I am not asking or expecting anything more than what has been taken from me or my employer for that specific purpose. I do not call that an entitlement, I call that a debt owed.
– Melody S.