Oregon writer, Rain Trueax, and Oregon painter, Diane Widler Wenzel are co-authoring Rainy Day Thought. New posts will be on Saturdays and otherwise randomly as a subject arises. Comments are always welcome-- invited, even begged :)

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

This Business of Governing

"Sell not virtue to purchase wealth, nor Liberty to purchase power."
Benjamin Franklin in 'Poor Richard's Almanack of 1738'
Paraphrased for today by unknown
"Those Who Sacrifice Liberty For Security Deserve Neither"

As anyone, who has read my blog from before or even the most recent post here on polygamy probably already knows, I am a fan of limited government. I am not a libertarian as I believe there are purposes for government and reasons a wise and strong society will share its resources to do certain activities that individually we could not accomplish. I have been thinking lately that most of us don't think enough on what we want our government to do, which regulations we really want, and what we are willing to pay for.

You hear people say they want universal health care. Then you ask if they are willing to pay say 60% of their income to get that, they look at you horrified. But if you look at what socialist countries have for tax rates, that's where it ends up-- if not higher.

We don't trust the government to do this or that but then add on something new we expect with no idea of how to pay for it or even who will accomplish it. New Orleans recovery was a good example. Everybody wanted to see help given but did that help really do what was intended for the people or did it too often line the pockets of grifters?

Is it enough for most people that money is thrown at a problem like it was for years with welfare or should we have a plan for what it'll accomplish? Does our government have reasonable goals and accountability if they are met and accept that there should be a price to pay if not?

I think it would be good, especially since this is an election year in the United States which could impact our country for years to come, if more of us would take time to consider what we want government doing, not doing and vote accordingly. Those who wanted gay marriage banned did that last election much to the disappointment of those who like myself thought that should not have been the business of the majority to restrict the minority except in areas where it endangered others-- like protecting minors. How did gay marriage hurt the majority? Apparently some felt it did and voted accordingly.

If Bush gets another two years of Republican controlled Congress, we could see changes through the Supreme Court that will impact our nation for years to come. It's a good time to look at how your individual legislator voted last time, whichever party he represented, and if it wasn't what you would have wanted, kick him out-- even if the new guy seems less than you want. There is always the next election to take care of him. And this is true whether you are reading this from the United States or any other free country where we have the privilege of voting and should take it seriously.

Abortion is a hot button issue for a lot of people. What do you want your government to do-- restrict it, forbid it or stay out of it?

Should the executive branch have, as it now claims it does, unrestricted power during a self-declared war to torture, imprison and spy on anyone it has declared is dangerous-- with no limits?

Should corporations have the right to pollute or expand into neighborhoods or whatever else they might want to do because the jobs are needed more than someone else's quality of life?

Should the government have the right to sell off federal lands it has decided are not needed but nobody else is allowed to oversee, and you don't even know who they are going to sell them to? Not long ago they decided to allow mining claims to buy (at a cheap price) expanded land around them for any purpose at all. That got shot down. Is the new proposal simply an end run to get what they wanted all along?

Is personal profit your main criteria for who you want elected? If they lower your taxes and promise you the moon for free, are they your man or woman? If those aren't your goals, then you need to look carefully at your congressmen to see if they were theirs.

I think we have been encouraged to think that we have to give up certain things to have security but the question could be asked-- what things and have they made us safer? A lot of people are disillusioned right now about the government with both parties, but it's time that we have to stop being that way and decide what we believe, what we are willing to pay for and then work for those causes. If we don't, someone else will. That much you can depend on..........

13 comments:

Parapluie said...

Making a personal inventory of what we want and don't want from our government is a basic that is forgotten. I agree.
About universal health care: Countries with universal health care like Israel and New Zealand, I hear from family and friends, have better care for anyone willing to pay. The length of time to wait for universal care is rediculous as compared with care availabe to paying clients.
I'll ask people I know about health care in Australia. If they would like the government to have less say. I'll get back to report later.

Fran aka Redondowriter said...

These are really good questions, Rain, and I guess I'm one of those persons who has more or less given up where politics are concerned. I never felt this apathetic before; I've always been an activist. Politics, which should be a heroic profession, is so shady, so corrupt. You have made me think, however. When I was young everything was black and white; now almost everything is seen in shades of gray.

I do idealistically think that universal health care is the moral thing to do so there is some form of equality. Most of my Canadian, Irish and Brit friends tell me it is a good thing. Right now only the poor and indigent get health care--and the rich buy it. The middle class pays through the nose for it--and I'm living example of that. I worked full-time for way beyond what I wanted to--because with my cancer history, I couldn't afford to be without employer's health insurance. Or maybe I just didn't trust that the universe would take care of me.

As for abortion, I have extremely mixed emotions because though I believe in choice, I think it is done so mindlessly now that it has become a form of birth control. I've always believed that abortion is a last resort.

Nothing is going to change while we are paying for an immoral war in Iraq. Our government is in very sad shape--and yet, I am proud to be an American. But--I guess I'm going to let you--and those who still have the fire within them--to force change. But--like I said--you make me think.

Brigitte Lichtenberger-Fenz, Austria said...

Hi, I'm just wondering what you're talking about. Socialist countries? You mean perhaps a country like Sweden where socialdemocrats are running the government? Their universal health care doesn't amount to 60%. The total sum of all taxes, health insurance, unemployment insurance, retirement pension amounts to 48% of the income. So it's definitely not just health care, and that makes a difference, doesn't it? Brigitte

Rain said...

Brigitte, it seems like that would be a good topic to consider in the future -- health care and whether universal can be done without high tax rates and still provide the patients with choices for their care. In our country, the USA, the current tax rate on the main bulk of the middle class is probably about 45 or 48% right now and we are going into the hole. My feeling is that if our nation did universal health care, which I would like to see some form of, but if we did, there is no way we could end up with less than 60% tax rate on the main ones paying taxes (bottom pays nothing or little and top gets out of a lot also). I have some ideas on how we might do health care but will have to take a blog to do it.

I didn't do any research for that sentence for required percentages and was not trying to say an exact figure even for this country but was trying to make the point that people want things but usually don't count up the cost-- in personal or government life.

I definitely used the term socialist loosely *s* I was thinking I should have gone back to rephrase it -- more socialist leaning-- as words have meaning and I used that one too casually.

Mary Lou said...

Oh WELL SAID!! Like Fran, I am not an OUT FRONT type of person, and will never debate politics, I do however know what I want my government to be/do for me, and some of it does come at a cost. I need to spend more time than I have here thinking about it at length and Then I will respond back.

I like the way you word things. I will be back....

Brigitte Lichtenberger-Fenz, Austria said...

Hi, yes, okay, I see.
Greetings from Austria, Brigitte

Rain said...

thanks all for commenting. I always like to see what others think on any topic and disagreement is as welcome as agreement. It's what makes for full discourse :)

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