What government is for

Government is like a baby. An alimentary canal with a big appetite at one end and no sense of responsibility at the other. Ronald Reagan, USA president.

Many people see government like Mr Reagan, as a monster that only goes after their taxes without giving them anything in return. This concept helps Liberal and Conservative ideologies to diminish government’s role. In my opinion that hides another issues; is easier cutting something down rather than make it efficient but most of all it is an economic manouver. Services not directly provided by government would have to be offered by private companies at a higher cost for governments and particulars; the end game is clear millionaires, usually infiltrated in conservative parties, would make profits out of things that were out of their reach. Using this message they have managed to cut government’s ability to provide jobs and services because they portrait them as money holes, instead of an essential element for a prosper functional society. Likewise Mitt Romney's view that poor people were poor because they were lazy makes easier cutting and privatising essential services. He uses the argument of so many conservatives that while workers work to pay for services unemployed people are just lazy and taking advantage of them creating a division within the society and making taxes look a burden for them and a gift for others. But things are not black and white; for example there are lots of people that work but simply can't afford health care or other services because cost of living has gone up much more than salaries. In USA for example the national free clinics association has denounced that 80% of their customers have a job but can't pay for health care anyway. Likewise in Europe austerity measures are making education and health less accessible for lower a middle class due to higher costs and lower wages to dispose of.

Reagan's view of government is true in some countries where people pay taxes and politicians don’t use that money for the improvement of society but for their own economic advancement. Sometimes we think only underdeveloped or developing countries have that problem, but we can also see it in Europe, for example Greece, Italy or Spain where corruption is much more spread than it should. However government is much more than that; corruption that perhaps should be legally penalised as an act of treason since they are stealing nation's resources, shouldn’t taint the function of government. There are many reasons why governments are beneficial and should be given funds to function properly.

On one side we have the services they provide at an affordable cost to citizens, through their taxes; for example education, health and security (police and firemen among others). These services are a commodity for people but at the same time a job for millions of citizens. Thus everyone benefits from “cheap” high quality services necessary for a decent living (not every job allows people to be able to afford private pricey services no matter how much they work), a part of society gets a job at the same time. Furthermore in countries with good public services that also creates a society with equal opportunities, because money doesn't make a difference on education or quality of life.

On the other side we have the millions of jobs government contributes to indirectly. For example in London, the public company in charge of transportation did in 2010 a comprehensive study of their providers so UK government, eager to cut TfL’s budget could appreciate the economic contribution of this company towards the whole of the UK economy. One recent example is the new 600 buses that the Mayor of London has ordered, which will safeguard 220 jobs across the UK, forming part of the 40,000 jobs annually supports outside London that add to the 19,000 it supports within the supply chain in London. Indeed every public organisation that delivers a service has to procure elements for their day to day business that would become profits for the private companies marketing them (from expert consultants to toilet paper).

One can argue some characteristics of public entities: how many attributions they must have and if they are as efficient as possible. But on public services like transport, education, or health essential of any advanced society it is undeniable that those institutions contribute to society providing a service as well as improving the private sector; without public contracts many companies wouldn’t make profits. The fact that a public company spends much in itself is not the problem, as long as that spending is necessary for society and generates private growth. If a public entity misuses funds (either through private appropriation of funds, contracting companies without managing the contract properly or investing money without a clear return of investment) an exhaustive review ought to be carried out to find any deviation and set rules that prohibit it from happening again. But no crisis nor misused should be the justification for cutting public funding which will only lead to privatising services, making impossible for a big part of the society access necessary services.

This change in policy is even more necessary in countries where the austerity measures have provoked public investment to drop. In Spain since 2008 around 180,000 companies have close down; some they were owed money and their creditors didn’t prorogued their loans, others had to close because in an economic crisis discouraging private investment they were not able to survive without public contracts. Companies closing down and governments reducing their budgets means letting go millions of people; in the middle of a crisis they will unlikely find another job and will add to the amount of private jobs lost and people claiming their benefits. Thus government will have to spend more money in due services with less income. On top of the economic benefits that public investment creates for the society there are moral implications on providing or not public quality services. After all who is to say that our lives will be perfect forever, we will always find a job and have enough income to have a decent life. Companies shut down, illness appears without asking, there are many reasons why we may be unable to work even if we want to. At the end when a sector or an individual needs help they often ask government, even banks did it. We should have a government that helps everyone to grow and provides help when necessary, always doing it in an efficient, reasonable and justifiable way.

 

Takers were once makers

Is my understanding that Republicans believe in the “solo” approach, that every man is on its own and success will come if you work hard enough.This fuels the argument that the nation is becoming a nation of takers and makers.

I just wished life was so simple as that.

For the own sake of human society we should promote the idea that the majority of the people want to work and contribute, if not for anything else just to feel useful and get a feeling of accomplishment when they see their paycheck, I for one feel that way.

The reasoning Takers and makers is very dangerous and in my opinion wrong.

It gives the argument for division and confrontation within society thru the portrait of a portion of the people (as much as 47% according to Romney or a little less according to Ryan and I am sure another figures are being talked about conservatives in other parts of the world) just chilling waiting for a paycheck without doing anything and laughing at those people that are working instead. Thus the people that have a job would feel betrayed, used and somewhat angry at these “takers”.

The “working force” is being bombarded with suggestions that they are being used and fooled and that could ignate anger and violence. Taking this to the extreme one could even think that should one of these “makers” gets angry and tired of “being used” it would be justified if he violently fought people that were taking something from him, because hey he is working and the other guy is just chilling and taking advantage from him. 

Also this theory confuses the following fact, only extreme cases of people born with disabilities haven´t ever contributed to those benefits that they claim. Everyone pays part of their salary towards Social Security and so forth, so is not really taking something when you have put something there in the first place as Ryan mentioned today. I am happy Ryan said that and I wished he trully believes it.

No one can be looking forward to being sick and not able to work, thus seeking benefits. And unfortunately in the States going broke due to the Health Care system, at least in Europe we have a right to life (I will tackle women´s rights on another post) and medical care no matter our income.

There are few people looking forward parenting alone, thus no one can be looking forward having to seek benefits to support a child.

And more to the point, even if someone is taking advantage of the system for example exagerating an illness, I honestly don´t think we the society should sacrify all the people that are in need for a bunch of people that ought to be found and stopped. I´d better invest in fraud prevention than cutting safety nets for all.

I think people live in societies made of different ideas but should feel united to contribute all together for the benefit of the country. The more people the more ideas. Likewise in order to have an innovative and productive society all its members should feel in peace with the system and equally appreciated so they can contribute to the best of their abilities. Dividing arguments should be stopped.

 Aren´t societies supposed to be groups of people that gather to overcome difficulties together? Aren´t families the same thing at a small scale? You wouldn´t leave a lovely one in the dark, you´d help him. Why aren´t we helping our country fellows more, so shall we fall from grace and need help they help us?

I don´t want to go with the argument of I do this just to get this after but, no one is impune to disgrace, it can happen to you tomorrow with no fault of your own. What would happen to you? To your family? Isn´t it worth investing in an “insurance” for all that would help you in your moment of need? I think it is just the right thing to do.