Monday, July 04, 2011

The Common Good and the Defense of Good Government

In Abraham Lincoln's words, our government was instituted "of the people, by the people, and for the people." Government is not them. It is us. Government is not inherently good or evil; it's how people choose to govern themselves.

As society and the economy become more complex, we need government to create the infrastructure to establish justice and to promote the general welfare. In primitive societies, with smaller communities and simpler lives, government was also much smaller. Food and necessities were produced locally; labor was done by family or neighbors. There was no Wall Street. No corporate boards made decisions affecting the lives of truly anonymous workers and consumers. No need for air traffic control or a pollution control agency.

In our increasingly complex society, we need to work together to give all children access to quality education, to ensure that products we buy are safe, to pay for roads and bridges and public safety, to protect the environment, and to help those who are sick and vulnerable and unable to fend for themselves.

It is through government that we can effectively address these needs. It is also, almost always, less expensive to do so collectively – it's far cheaper to pay for a clean public water supply than to have each household drill their own well, and test and purify their own water. Yet right-wing politicians across the country have been signing (Grover) Norquist's No New Taxes pledge; a pledge that allows no exceptions, whether for growing needs, for emergencies, or natural disasters.

Under the anti-tax ideology, if children go hungry, that's tough. If bridges collapse, too bad.

-Minnesota State Sen. John Marty
Read full piece entitled  In Defense of Good Government, published by the Apple Pie Alliance in its bulletin To the Point!

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