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I am a self proclaimed coffee addict and Executive Director of a non profit missions agency working primarily in the Mexican cities of Oaxaca, Guadalajara, and Ensenada. I've been married for over 30 years to Chelle, and we have one grown son, Joseph, a graduate of Auburn University in Alabama.

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Wednesday, August 24, 2011

We Love Government!

Americans love government.

Don't let anyone tell you otherwise.

There are very few folks out there who really want to live in a world where there is no government, or even in a world of limited government.

What Americans don't like is people telling us how to live our lives. It doesn't matter who is doing the telling, we just don't like it.

Think it isn't so?

When was the last time you followed the advice of your doctor when he told you to lose weight and exercise more?

If you attend church, chances are you are pretty big on seeking counsel before big decisions.

When was the last time you asked for an opinion from someone you knew might disagree with the choices you were set to make in your life?

Government is just the current boogeyman of the day.

I know, I know, government spends a lot and we are facing some pretty big deficits, but let's be honest here, is it really government in general we want to see trimmed, or is it governance?

I suspect it is the latter.

Because the roads you drive on, the police that protect you, the fact that you can drink from a faucet, and know your money is safe in a bank are all because of government.

If you live out west, the electricity for your home, courtesy of Hoover Dam, is a result of government.

If you live in the east, I’m guessing in about a week, you are going to be asking for government help to clean up after Hurricane Irene. And of course, your government is always there to help rebuild after earthquakes and fight those devastating wildfires.

If you've been unjustly detained in another country, who ya gonna call? Yep, your government.

Do you ever get on a plane? It's your government that is working to keep you safe.

Feeling blue and need a doctor? Maybe you should be thankful that the government helped fund the research that just might save your life.

Want to read a book, but can't afford to buy it? How about the daily paper. Or maybe you need to check your e-mail. If so, you can usually do all of that and more at your local library, of course provided through your government.

Is our government perfect? Not at all. Has it made mistakes? Yes it has. And it will make more, because nothing is perfect.

But understand this, we all love government and the benefits we derive from it, so instead of vilifying it, and pretending we’d be better off without it, why not get real and try to make it better?

Comments on "We Love Government!"


Blogger BB-Idaho said ... (10:34 AM) : 

There are places with no government-Somalia comes to mind.
Us old folk don't gripe about
income taxes since we remember when they were high.
We also remember there were lots of good jobs and low deficits.
We recall the tax and borrow, trickle down magic began in 1981!


Blogger Doug said ... (1:16 PM) : 

Actually, we love the U.S. Government. ;-)


Blogger Dave Miller said ... (1:36 PM) : 

Good point Doug... ready for football? We'll have to compare teams after our leagues draft...

BB, good point, and if we returned to rates we had during the Reagan/Bush I/Clinton years, we'd be just fine...

Makes one wonder if the GOP wants good governance, or are they really trying to starve the beast?


Blogger Dave Miller said ... (1:37 PM) : 

I am sure, on principle, we can expect governors from the GOP side to not be approaching the feds for any FEMA help right?


Blogger Z said ... (9:31 PM) : 

Yes, and private industry can watch our water and protect our skies and build our roads and build dams and they've done a better job with health care than government could ever do, but......some people feel more comfortable when IT'S THE GOVERNMENT.

Some of want the government not to tell us what we can eat and don't want the government buying companies and don't want to go into more debt thanks to the government, or see that too many jobs are government jobs: We want Americans to be self reliant, productive and strong.
I wish everyone did.


Blogger Dave Miller said ... (10:34 PM) : 

Z, did you see private industry stepping up to build Hoover Dam? How about protecting National Parks?

Do you really believe we would have access to places like Yosemite and Yellowstone were it not for FR?

What's to stop private industry now from buying up public land and establishing more national parks?

It took government to be the impetus for most of what you mentioned. Why did private industry not do it?

Ever hear of Erin Brokavich? Love Canal? Three Mile Island? All of those tragedies were private industries. Coal mine problems? Private.

See how this works? Either side can cite examples to defend their point of view.

The question is whether people want to be on the tear it down side, or be on the "it ain't perfect"so let's fix it, or make it better.

How about this... everyone who thinks private industry always does stuff better can just reject FEMA help next week after Hurricane Irene hits.

I am sure you know of FEMA... it was a product of the Hoover Admin [a conservative] who felt the government had a duty to help our citizens in times of need after natural disasters.

I think that fell under the Constitutional charge to promote the general welfare.

All government is not bad, anymore than all private industry is bad. We need a balance.

Unfortunately, most conservative I encounter on blogs, do not share that view, and have no desire to really analyze the issues.

Are there any government services you are comfortable with aside from the military?


Blogger Z said ... (4:41 AM) : 

I absolutely do believe we could have had ALL of that without the government, yes.

And yes, there are services, as I said, which I believe are government's domain: Military, for one.
Let the gov't help private companies get private loans for smaller entrepreneurs if they must; I'm good with that... OH, but then there's Freddie and Fannie which Bush warned about five times in public(which the left denies even after seeing video of it) but he'd been so mocked in the media for so long they didn't listen, and look what happened from having people go the gov't for loans. (By the way, they're at it again)...The odd thing that the Left never quite seems to understand is those people suffering the most from ridiculous loans based on pleasing the Black Caucus are MINORITIES who are now out on the streets because of the promises they'd received when they bought 'no money down'...etc. Conservatives want to prevent that.

What's to stop private industry NOW is the fact that this Obama economy is SO SO much worse than Bush's term that nobody can GET a loan to do what they want to do PRIVATELY. Planned? Or just a terrible consequence of nobody having believed Bush? hmmm Sometimes, it's better for America to give at least a little credence to a Republican, too, huh? :-)


Blogger Tim said ... (6:28 AM) : 

As a Detroiter, I am glad that the GOVERNMENT bought the company and threw out the incompetent management, and saved our state's economy from total collapse.
Z- good luck with your all corporate country, where you have to have to pay police to investigate a crime, write a check when the firemen come or they stand by and watch your house burn to the ground (which happened in TN). Personally, I'm good with the level of government we have. Move to Somalia and tell me how much you enjoy limited government. Maybe Haiti? That's what you'll get with no government.
While I agree that the mortgage meltdown's seeds were spawned during the Clinton years, Bush blithely ignored the festering until the bubble popped. And really, having a tax cut during two ten year long wars is the stupidest thing of all.


Blogger dmarks said ... (6:31 AM) : 

There needs to be some balance. Just because the government is good at some things does not mean it is good at everything.


Blogger Tim said ... (6:34 AM) : 

And do you really think corporations care about food safety, limiting and cleaning up pollution, water quality, and education? I guess only people who can pay for that get those protections.
Make no mistake. This huge debt is from the Bush tax cuts, while at the same time having two very expensive wars fought with a military that can no longer provide its own logistical support. When I was in the service we had our own cooks, not KBR contractors. Haliburton and Blackwater made fortunes ripping off the American taxpayer, and Haliburton showed its gratitude by moving its headquarters overseas to avoid paying taxes on the profits.


Blogger Tim said ... (6:39 AM) : 

dmarks, agreed. Government should not do everything. Having seen communism first hand in E. Germany (supposedly the best country in the Soviet Bloc) I can wholeheartedly concur. i will say that they did two things right. Free college education, and youth recreation centers to keep kids off the streets and out of trouble. Poor kids with no money and lots of free time need a free place to go and socialize where there is a little supervision to keep them out of trouble. I think that would go a long way to cutting the crime rate.


Blogger Dave Miller said ... (8:05 AM) : 

dmarks, exactly, but when people respond like Z did, us lefties wonder how the right interprets balance.

Is balance all military and nothing else?


Blogger Shaw Kenawe said ... (8:13 AM) : 

Excellent post, Dave. I get a chuckle out of politicians who slam "The Government," saying it's the problem (Reagan, and now Perry) but who spent and will spend millions of dollars to get elected to be the leader of that "problem." IOW, the President of the Problem.

A balance is the solution, not throwing the proverbial baby out with the bath water.

Governments are made up of flawed human beings, that's why we find problems with it. D'uh!

How many families are perfect? How many people grew up in dysfunctional families? Yet I've never heard anyone state that families are not the solution; families are the problem.

Your government and your family are only as good as the people who are in charge of them.


Blogger Z said ... (9:03 AM) : 

Dave, you're very like Ducky. You hone in on one point of a comment or a post, anything you can criticize, and completely ignore other points...it's a little frustrating to discuss things with you for this!
But, thanks...it's been interesting!
Oh, I see Tim enjoyed doing the same thing.
Tim, did you think that, because I didn't enumerate every point (I named many things which SHOULD/COULD be private but everyone's glossing over those, of course! And, of course, I said "military, FOR ONE"...which usually means there are others, I believe!? :-)), I actually believe we should have to get our checkbooks out when firemen have put out a fire?:-)
This is a kind of funny, really!
It's always better when conclusions aren't jumped to because others don't agree with us; leave it where it is and discuss, don't extrapolate in the direction you expect, never hinted at in the actual comment, and we're supposed to roll over and die in acquiescence!
COme ON! Talk about the point, don't make up things you can feel smug about in criticizing, guys!


Blogger Dave Miller said ... (10:20 AM) : 

Z, the whole point of my post was that while people frequently complain about government, and think we would be better off, when the rubber meets the road, they back off.

A prime example is the FOX News reporter who in the past slammed the federal government for the Family Medical Leave Act.

When she interviewed a frequent FOX contributor, who also was critical of that law, after she returned to work from maternity leave, she was singing a different tune.

She was now in favor of the benefits she had received from her government.

The only point I am honing in on, if there is one, is that I am not willing to say everything the government does is bad, or evil.

Look, you are pretty quick to say people like Warren Buffet, if he desires to pay more taxes can just send the money in to the feds.

Well if you believe you would be better off without some government spending, why is it unreasonable for liberals to request that conservatives start by refusing their Social Security checks after they have exhausted the money they paid in?

Is not that the same view, just from the other side?

As Tip O'Neill said "All politics is local," let me add "All government spending is personal!"

No one will act to refuse, or cut off help once they start receiving it.

And our conservative politicians have already proved that. Even Rick Perry as governor of Texas is bemoaning the fact that FEMA did not give Texas more aid money after the wildfires.

Ask yourself, if you have the courage to do so [again a phrase I see bandied about a lot on you blog when deriding liberals] why Mr Perry would act like that.

Could it be because he knows sometimes it takes government to bring the resources in to solve a problem.


Blogger Dave Miller said ... (10:21 AM) : 

Z, and yes it has been nice... no one has called you a turd, evil, an idiot, stupid, or any other name.

I cannot say the same for my daily reviews of the conservative I visit.


Blogger dmarks said ... (12:31 PM) : 

Tim, if Washington had not stepped in, GM and Chrysler would have gone into normal bankruptcy, with the protection from creditors and unworkable contracts that such status affords. All without government loans and handouts.

Interesting comment on East Germany.

As for the firemen watching the house burn in TN, was this fire department a government agency, or was it private?


Blogger Tim said ... (12:46 PM) : 

I respectfully disagree, dmarks. No private venture capital firms would have been able to raise the 50 odd billion dollars and GM and Chrysler would have been liquidated.

Yes, the TN fire dept. was a government agency, BUT it was acting like a private company. "No tiki, no washee". Through an oversight, the homeowner had neglected to pay his annual fire property tax. The firetruck crew literally stood there, able to put it out, but watched this man's house burn to the ground. The man offered to write a check on the spot and even pay any extra penalty, but they just stood there and watched it burn.


Blogger Dave Miller said ... (1:15 PM) : 

Dmarks, tim's acct is accurate, even down to the offer to write the check...

Let's remember, many tea partiers wanted GM and Chrysler to go out of business as a lesson to other companies. That way in the future, companies would not look towards a "socialistic" solution when they failed.

This was the worry in the 70's when Carter bailed them out too. The conservatives were not worried that the loans would not work, but that they would, and companies would be emboldened to take bigger risks because of anticipated government bailouts.

Now we can argue all day about the better approach, but what would have been our reality if GM and Chrysler had indeed gone out of business?

Was maintaining the supposed purity of capitalism worth the risk? Obviously Carter, and more recently Bush and Obama felt otherwise.

Yes Bush. Remember, the bailouts and the mechanism to make that happen came as part of TARP, signed into law by President George Bush. A fact the right conveniently ignores, or has forgot.

Yes Obama approved, and used the funds, but to make it sound like the entire exercise was an Obama plot, which the right does, is playing pretty loose with the facts.

Dmarks, maybe you can help me on this...

I frequently hear that Obama wanted the GM bailouts to help his admittedly democrat friendly labor/union based buddies.

Why is it we never hear that the GOP, in supporting continued farm subsidies, [also a somewhat socialistic practice] only want to help their big agrabusiness and conservative farming buddies?

I ask you because sense I might get an honest, thoughtful answer instead of the usual misdirection claptrap...


Blogger Tim said ... (2:22 PM) : 

Let's not forget oil subsidies either, Dave.


Blogger Dave Miller said ... (4:09 PM) : 

Tim, another example of "socialistic practices" transcending political boundaries...


Blogger Tim said ... (7:30 PM) : 

I like to call it "limosine socialism" as in individualized profits (Wall St.) socialized risk (Again the Wall St./Bank bailout) and they get record bonuses at Goldman Sachs.

And really, the way that the Tea Party just went hammer and tongs to the mat to save those tax exceptions for private jets, is it even defensible at all? Do they really understand how ridiculous that they sound to the average guy on the street?


Blogger Tim said ... (7:31 PM) : 

Get the government off my back until I need a bailout...


Blogger dmarks said ... (10:36 AM) : 

Farm subsidies are not a big hot-button item, but the tea partiers I have asked oppose them also. That's actually different from the Democrat and mainstream Republican line.

"...and they get record bonuses at Goldman Sachs."

On the TARP bailout issue (2008), one on side you had some more to the left Democrats, most Republicans and Michael Moore opposing. And supporting it you had Pres. Bush, along with Senator Obama, Senator McCain, and Gov. Palin.


Tim said: 'Yes, the TN fire dept. was a government agency, BUT it was acting like a private company."

I actually think that they were acting like government employees. Like the ones seen trashing and insulting people at the Wisconsin capital a few months ago. People interested not in what they can do for their community, but in how much they can shake down the community for. "The firetruck crew literally stood there, able to put it out, but watched this man's house burn to the ground."

Rather similar to the so-called public "servants" protesting in Wisconsin. The real public servants were the ones who stayed in the schools and taught.

Or how about the snow removal crews out East who decided to sleep in as part of a "labor dispute" during a big storm? People actually died due to their laziness and greed.


Blogger dmarks said ... (10:46 AM) : 

BB said; "There are places with no government-Somalia comes to mind.'

It's a bad place, with a lot of misery.

However, the death toll and human catastrophe is rather small compared what what happens in places with too much government (i.e. socialism), such as Cambodia under Pol Pot, Hitler's Germany, Mao's China, etc.

When you have too much government, socialism, etc, that's when things really get bad. Especially compared to what happens in lawless states such as Somalia. Really big atrocities require the organization power of big government.


Blogger BB-Idaho said ... (1:54 PM) : 

Regarding teachers, unions and Wisconsin gov Walker; TP-ers, Wingers and their ilk conclude
teachers are some sort malevolent
drain on the public system. Since
I know many, am related to many
and respect the profession, I'll continue to disagree with the badger state Marquette dropout;
I\'m familiar with
are not the greedy scum some folks
like to think.


Blogger Tim said ... (8:49 AM) : 

Fascism should more appropriately be called Corporatism because it is a merger of state and corporate power.
-Benito Mussolini

The Third Reich was not socialist in the true sense of the definition. It was a totalitarian dictatorship that believed in Social Darwinism, that the Aryan Race was obligated to wipe out or enslave all lesser races (especially the Jews)or perish itself. It believed in strict regimentation, militarism, and total submission to the Fuehrer. Read Mien Kampf. Hitler spelled it out quite plainly how his vision of government was the exact opposite of Marxist/Leninist Communism. Which really is what conservatives mean when they bandy the word "Socialism" about. Why don't you think they just come out and say it? Because they seem to sense that would cross a line and regular people would think that they are nuts.

Comparing the Obama administration to the Third Reich is just ridiculous.

Really, comparing the Bush2 administration to the Italian Fascists, while still a far, far stretch, is closer to the mark. Republicans certainly want to merge the power of the state and corporations. The relentless drive to privatize government services, the Supreme Court decision that Romney echoed ("corporations are people"). The Republican desire to make this country a one party state (with, of course, they being the party in control). The aggressive demonizing of public sector workers (except military and police, which they need to force the general population to obey, and to protect force abroad), ignoring scientific conclusions they that don't agree with, and turning to their version of "God" for guidance.

I think rich Republicans know that what they say are lies, and the lower middle class Republicans are just being misled and being used.


Blogger Dave Miller said ... (12:28 PM) : 

Tim, let's not leave out a desire to see government merged with religion as a real goal of many.

This fusing of religious values, as they [whoever they may be] into the body politic can be really dangerous.

I can see this on both sides... from the GOP using God, to the Dems using the religion of secularism.


Blogger Tim said ... (1:27 PM) : 

Republican Litmus Test = Pro Life or you can't be a conservative.

Democratic Litmus Test = Pro Gay Marriage (and being an Atheist)or you can't be a liberal.

That is why I am fiercely independent. I believe in God, in Jesus' teachings and though I am in favor of nearly all Gay rights (including serving in the military, and civil unions) I personally draw the line at Gay Marriage for religious reasons. For this I have been called a religious bigot by Gays, while at the same time they have no qualms about degrading my beliefs as silly for believing in my "imaginary friend". They demand tolerance and acceptance while at the same time being intolerant to my views.

So yes Dave, you are correct that even though they will deny it, they are worshiping at the alter of secular humanism.

As for the far right wing, you have Michelle "crazy lady" Bachmann saying that Irene is God sending a message that we need to shrink Government. So let me understand this: God just killed 20+ people and made thousands homeless to show his disapproval of our government? When called on it she said she was joking.

I also thought that it was very inappropriate for Governor Perry to have a quasi-government prayer gathering in Texas. If we keep creeping towards a state sponsored religion, they will have to re-write the constitution and we will be no better than the Taliban or the Ayatollahs in Iran.


Blogger dmarks said ... (6:25 AM) : 

BB: Some teachers ARE a drain on public finances, if they do a lousy job and demand to be paid princely sums for it. All Walker wants to do is pay a fair wage. and not give unearned handouts. What's wrong with that?


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