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Friday, September 3, 2010

PSA for the day

I'm not usually one for making this blog political, but this open letter from Berkeley professor of public policy Michael O'Hare is simply too good to not pass on. While his argument is broad, and thus open to all sorts of nit picky responses, I feel the general message is sound. US citizens are faced with a variety of Godzilla-sized monsters which we are only capable of combating or corralling through an entity equally as large (or larger). That entity, our Voltron if you will, is government, like it or hate it. Government is the only voice (true or not) of the collective in this country, and "starving the beast" for the last 30 years has simply led to an America that has willingly handed the vast majority of our cultural, military, and social control to unmanageably large, government-sized corporations who have only one goal in mind...profit. Not social welfare, not the betterment of Man. Profit.

I'm all for correcting the excesses of government; as the sole representative for the people of the United States, our elected officials should be held to a higher standard. But the elimination of government, and the under-funding of its coffers, will stand as the greatest folly of this and future generations if we continue to accept this debacle as the truth. If the wealthiest nation that has ever existed on this planet is not capable of feeding, educating, and providing essential services to its people then there is no hope for mankind in the long term.

Alright. I am now stepping off my soapbox. Back to my fictional worlds.


Mister Booze said...

Steve said...

Amen to that. I wonder how much SF had to do with seeding the cultural suspicions concerning the evils of big government?

Tres Crow said...

Excellent link, Mr. Booze. This gets into all sorts of arguments about theories of governance. Like the Governator, apparently, I feel that the primary objective of government is to provide for the social welfare (e.g. infrastructure, defense, education) and as such the government should only be in the employment business insofar as it achieves those aims. Naturally the government should employ however many people are needed in order to complete these tasks, but it is frustrating that so many people are kept on the government bankrolls who are either in a superfluous position or are not competent at their jobs, especially when so many people are out of work (of course, on the flip side, I believe that if you give 25+ years of good service to the people of the United States you should definitely be given a pension and healthcare at the very least).

I am absolutely certain that if one were to do a full audit of the government budgets from top to bottom (including defense and homeland security where you are likely to find a good lot of this waste) you would find billions of waste every year, which could then be applied toward the shortfall in social security (a program that can not be sent overboard) and put the rest toward infrastructure (which most people with knowledge in this area suggest we are drastically behind, as in TARP every year for five years might be able to catch us up to where we should be) or savings.

Now, we know that no one is going to do such an audit, but if it were to happen I think we would find that the wealth of the American people has not yet been so squandered that we can't pull out of this. I think we are getting to a tipping point though, in which it will become exceedingly difficult and painful to get back to zero. Judging by the distracted in-fighting that has occurred so far at all levels of government I would suggest that we figure out a way to address these issues soon, because if we can't deal with them now, we sure as heck aren't going to be able to when the times get really tough.

But, you know, that's just, like, my opinion, man. What do I know? I'm just singer of simple songs.

Mister Booze said...

Man I had this really long post about long term costs and municipal governments and per capita GDP...and poof it is gone :(