What government can or cannot do

Discussion in 'Politics' started by Wyldgusechaz, Aug 22, 2008.

  1. Wyldgusechaz

    Wyldgusechaz New Member

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    Government does nothing very well. And yet people think (especially here) that the government can influence their life and make it better. How did we come to think that?

    Its OK at building roads and setting up national parks, and providing for the common defense, and keeping us safe in our homes. But so many people continue to ask it to do the things for us that our family should have done for us and what we should be doing for ourself.. And that it cannot do.

    Right now we are asking it to provide for our retirement and its going to bankrupt us. We want it to provide good jobs for us, but really wasn't that our parents responsibility to be sure we were really well educated? Wasn't it our responsibility to get extra education to improve our lot i life? Right now if you have a job that can be outsourced to another country, and your next door neighbor has a chance to buy your product or the same one made cheaper somewhere else, he will inadvertently gut your throat and do what is in his/her best interest and but the cheaper product 999 times out of a 1000.

    Whose fault it it that gas prices are so high? ( It was Alan Greenspan's actually) If we drive a Hummer isn't that our fault? Why is health care so pricey? If we did not smoke, get fat, eat poor foods, or avoid exercise, we would hardly need the health care system. Health insurance is so high cause we are having to insure ourselves against our own bad choices.

    No matter who is our President, it not going to make much difference in our lives. Our economy is now heading to be $15 trillion dollars. The actual discretionary money that our President can actually have influence on is less than $1 trillion. Even that money is hard to move w/o causing issues elsewhere like a big Rubik's cube.

    People looking to government for salvation are going to be very disappointed.
     
  2. gymfresh

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    Well, that's your opinion, and it's certainly not shared by everyone on this forum or many others.

    Many people hold different views of what government can or should be. In the US, it's popular to bash government, but on close examination there is scant reason for it. Private individuals and private industry have no better track record at making life tolerable for society as a whole. In the US the government has basically relinquished its role as the scaffolding for society, if you will, and given us instead government by corporations. A good example: access to good, basic health care should be a primary goal of a prosperous society, absolutely no different from good, responsive police or fire protection. Ultimately, the measure of progress of a society is how good it is at leveraging its wealth and knowledge to provide "insurance" for its citizens, raising the plank at each level so we can be more productive at our jobs without worrying about going bankrupt due to a family catastrophe. Most advanced countries that provide their citizens a solid baseline of health coverage incur overall administrative costs of 5-6%. But the US has a completely disorganized system that allows maximum profit incentive for private players and thus multiple layers of unnecessary middlemen, for a total administrative cost of 15-18%. It's bar none the costliest health care delivery system in the world and marginally no better than any other first world country's; if you factor in the great number of uninsured and underinsured, and families losing everything they have to health crises, it's significantly worse.

    In my view, government's proper role is to provide incentive and keep inequalities in check. That doesn't mean eliminate them... it means preventing misery where it can. The most peaceful and prosperous societies are those that do a good job of managing the income disparities of citizens through various levers. A broad range is good; a gargantuan range is not. The more subtle and fair, the better.

    In some countries, there is no nobler professional calling than to serve government. France has had a long history of selecting only the best and brightest to serve in its civil service, educating most in special programs at the Sorbonne and other top schools of public service. Arguably they have long had a much more enviable balance of family-government-enterprise than most other countries, certainly light years better than the US.

    And yes, I tried to take advantage of opportunities for a good education. I have a law degree and an MBA from the University of Chicago, so I do understand a little bit about free markets and regulation.
     
    #2 gymfresh, Aug 22, 2008
    Last edited: Aug 22, 2008
  3. SpeedoGuy

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    Governments have a way of living up to, or down to, widespread expectations.

    GWB's administation is doing its best to lower expectations in the US. I've got to give them credit for that.

    Anyone who thinks that free marketism alone is our savior has got a few screw loose.
     
  4. Wyldgusechaz

    Wyldgusechaz New Member

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    How can a centralized government be the savior? What tools would it need?
     
  5. Elmer Gantry

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    Fixed for accuracy.:wink:
     
  6. sargon20

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    Exactly. The sole purpose of business is to return value to it's shareholders. Period. They have no mission to improve the lives of the citizens in the countries they do business. No mission other than money. They have no social conscious. Is this the entity we want to entrust our lives with?
     
  7. SpeedoGuy

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    Its a worthy question, guse.

    I'm a hybrid moderate on this issue (which, of course, means I tend to combine the all the worst aspects of a solution :smile: )

    First, I don't subscribe to the notion that the US government does nothing well, having worked for the US government for 25 years. I've seen it do things well, as you noted.

    From what I've experienced in my life, I'd shudder at the prospect of a centralized government entity making all, or most, or many, of the important decisions about how I choose to live my life and spend my money. I have no wish to live under a Soviet style society administered by party hacks.

    But I'd shudder even more at the prospect of living in a society driven only by greed or free market darwinism: that he who has the most wealth ultimately gets to make the rules. I don't doubt at all that, absent constant government oversight, society would quickly become a hell ruled only by the strongest arm or the heaviest lash of corporate gangsters. I have no wish to live in an era of 19th century style robber barons.

    At the risk of oversimplifying, I believe that somewhere in between there's a workable medium. How that is accomplished is ample fodder for debate.
     
  8. sargon20

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    The neos don't want to offer the public anything in between hence the bogus terms 'socialism' and 'centralized planning'. Unless you have an IQ of 75 or below most people understand no one is actually proposing that.

    The US government gets a lot right though the spectacular failures under Bush are exactly because the neos-cons running government do not believe in government. So why would you expect anything but failure? What business would hire a CEO that doesn't believe in the mission of that business? But that's exactly what has happened. Bush and his gang want to turn over every government function over to private industry they can. But it's not because they believe private industry can do it better. It's being done to reward private industry for funding their re-election. Agency after agency has been turned upside down to serve big business and the Republican Party and not the public interest which they were founded on.


    Of course the one thing they do want government to do is control women and the right to choose. That part of big government they like. That actually can't get large enough or the military. Yes the defense budget can grow infinately lest you get slandered with the term 'weak on defense'...the modern day kiss of death politically.
     
    #8 sargon20, Aug 23, 2008
    Last edited: Aug 23, 2008
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