Vail Daily letter: Government not all bad
Avon, CO Colorado
I would like to respectfully disagree with a quote used in a recent Vail Daily Valley Voices column ( April 5). It was this: “Government is the great fiction through which everybody endeavors to live at the expense of everybody else.” My opinion is that the quote presented, originally writ-ten in the 1800s, should remain in the 1800s.
Let me explain. In our democracy, our government is the guardian and underpinning of the quality of our free way of life; after all, we are the government. And, as a U. S. citizen, I’m proud of much of what our gov-ernment has done for us and contin-ues to do. Let’s see. There’s Medicare and Medicaid ( an attempt was made several years ago to privatize Medicare, but saner heads on both sides of the aisle prevailed); Civil Rights legislation; the judicial sys-tem that is the foundation of our rule- of- law society; the public school system; the fire and police; the sanitation systems and atten-dant regulation, which provides us with safe drinking water and fresh air to breathe; the regulations that make our free- market capitalism work for all of us ( and which, with too little regulation and enforce-ment, brought on the recent and deepest depression since the 1929 crash); and the interstate highway system. And that’s just a few of the ways our government – federal, state and local – gives us and indeed ensures us the opportunity to strive for the good life.
The recently passed health care bill works within the parameters of the capitalist system, allowing the private sector to continue its health-insurance domain … with needed regulation. And the bill, by its bring-ing health care to all (or almost all) of our citizens, is paramount in help-ing our country live up to its social/ ethical responsibility as nev-er before. And yes, it’s not perfect, but I believe it’s a very good start. We are now coming close to joining the other 16 industrialized nations in recognizing that health care is a pre-eminent responsibility of a caring society to provide. And yes, there will be a cost.
But let’s not be so quick to con-demn government. Mistakes are and will be made, just as in the private sector. I spent my working years in the for-profit business world and have experienced both the effective-ness and the ineffectiveness of its workings.
We’re all in this together, gang, and a civil discussion on both sides of the social/ political spectrum is welcome and healthy. In the meantime, let’s not single out government alone as the boogeyman.