Too much/Not enough Government

I’ve been thinking a lot about the upcoming elections – both here in town and nationally. And one of the things that bothers me the most is the enormous gap and polarization around both the “should there be government services” and the “how should they be delivered” questions.

I see it everywhere. Let’s start with this one: The government shouldn’t meddle in the markets –we’ll become socialist. Markets should be free.

Okay, I think – if that’s true – how come health care is such a mess? Mostly free market, methinks. And it isn’t really working, I don’t think. I’m pretty sure most agree that it isn’t working. So what’s the story here? If the power of the free market cant’ solve it – then what? This strikes me as just exactly what a government is supposed to do – provide services that states and communities can’t provide on their own. Federal highways are a good example of this, as is the Post Office – it just doesn’t make sense that everyone should have to figure out how to deliver the mail.

And how about this one: (Insert your town, city, state here) is a business unfriendly town – it costs too much money to do business.

Okay, I think – a lot depends on how you count. But try this in for size: How much contaminated milk do we have in the US? Or – how about those building codes? You know, the ones that everyone bitches about when building? Yep – those are the ones that meant we could have a serious earthquake here and no one was killed.

I like this one, too – we pay way too much taxes.

Okay, I think – compared to who? Canada? Nope. Sweden? Nope. Pick a few others, and I’ll look them up. These are hard to figure out – lots of variables. But the truth is probably that i/you/we don’t think they are being spent well. But the other day, I took a jog from my office, and in a 60 minute run, I was on a bike path, a pedestrian path, ran alongside 5 parks, noticed great crosswalks, well lit playgrounds, a brand new school renovation, a public bathroom and drinking fountain.

I could go on and on. Truth be told- I think I live in a pretty lucky place, and while its easy to get distracted by the taxes coming OUT of my paycheck – I don’t have to look around that hard to see the benefits, too.

So here’s what I want to know: How come the conversations happening don’t talk about these things? Taxes? Not all good or bad. Capitalism? Not all good or bad? Government? Not all good or bad.

I sound a little like “why can’t we all get along” and that’s not really where I’m aiming. I mean –we should have a vigorous argument about vaccinations, fluoride in the water, the best way to spend our tax dollars – but they should be focused on “are these taxes/plans adding enough value” rather than on some high level “too little/too much” kind of conversation.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s