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100 ?’s for Gov’t: Is it unrealistic to aim for perfection?

April 27, 2013

This is Question 25 from “100 Questions for Government” series

If you’re rich, a corporation, highly educated or even part of the “shrinking middle class the current state of government probably doesn’t significantly affect your life. Sure, occasionally you may have to deal with too much bureaucratic red tape, pay what may or may not be excessive taxes, or be impacted by crimes, but overall you have a pretty good life. You are a citizen of the most powerful nation on earth, have access to cheap goods and services and can practice whatever religion (or lack thereof) you wish.

If you’re born poor, or are part of a family that lives paycheck to paycheck you are:

1)   Not alone (about 30% of the population is in this position)[1]

2)   Unlikely to pay tax because you don’t earn enough

3)   At greater risk of:

  1. Receiving a poorer education
  2. Going to jail
  3. Dying younger
  4. Suffering a crime
  5. Passing these traits on to your children

This volume of people is supplemented by another group who just make do while continually being constrained by the economics of making ends meets.

This is not the only flaw of the US system, and if you believe the “survival of the fittest” should be applied to the building of nations, you may not consider it a flaw at all. However, even if you feel no empathy for the “also rans” in capitalist game of life, you may want to consider the risks that come from ignoring the needs of a third of all voters. If you’re unsure of the possibilities, it may be worth reviewing the historic rise of communism or fascism.

Now here’s the kicker – while my focus on the need for greater equity and protecting the unprotected makes me sound like a “bleeding heart” liberal, I agree with many of the conservatives that we should minimize the size of government and that spending needs to be reduced (preferably in the short-term and definitely in the long-term). The basic questions are can we:

1)   And do we, want to do a better job of helping fellow citizens who need it?

2)   Find true inefficiencies in the system and fix them?

3)   Make elections and government reflect the needs and wants of the people?

4)   Effectively prioritize what should be governed and what should not?

5)   Intelligently offset competing goals to optimize the result?

6)   Have our cake and eat it too?

7)   See a future better than the one we have now?

The future we’re offering ourselves right now is more of the same. The question is whether the American people can force their politicians out of the current rut and support them in making radical decisions to get the country back on the right track. This is not an issue that should be defined by political parties or ideologies – we have plenty of smart people on both sides who can come to the right Initial Opinions if they step back from the tactical games they’re playing and chart an intelligent strategy to move forward.

Initial Opinion:

If we want more of the same, we can just keep doing what we’re doing. We can waste enormous amounts of energy calling people names, arguing over irrelevancies and encouraging political gridlock, or we can choose to move forward recognizing the strengths and merits of varying perspectives. We can send our politicians to legislate without ultimatums but with room to make the decision they feel is right for the particular situation. If we do this in a new environment which encourages results for the country rather than the politician or party, we may just get the future our country deserves.

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