Author: Benjamin DeLuca
What is government? Government, the means through which we pool our resources and our abilities to provide infrastructure and a binding social order for every citizen of this nation, is in and of itself, the people’s creation.
Our contributions create both physical and social infrastructure. Taxpayer money goes towards parks, highways and schools – necessary components of a prosperous country. Taxes also go towards welfare programs, food stamps and unemployment insurance, to ensure that people have means to survive when there is no work. We pay for Medicare so when we are older a doctor and medicine are available to us. We pay for Social Security so there is money to live on when we can no longer work.
There are people who would have Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan win the election so they could go about restructuring or even eliminating essential systems in our government, under the guise of “championing principles of small government.” The impetus for this movement comes from a group of Americans who want a bigger piece of the pie for themselves, with the means and the opportunity to try and elect politicians who share their goals of deregulated, “traditional” Americanism. The particularly wealthy individuals and corporations would seek to turn Americans against one another by blinding us to the true meaning and purpose of government: by changing the meaning of “government” into an organization with separable and vested interests.
With tremendous amounts of money spent in the political realm, those players attempt to turn Americans against government by turning concepts like “government” and “taxes” into abstractions. You don’t often hear conservatives talking about too much government involvement in our highway system or in our police force. The term “government” may be partnered with opposed government programs (e.g. Medicare and Medicaid). Or there’s talk about turning government tasks over to private corporations, or insurance companies.
This may be obvious but it still needs to be said: who would want to live in an overly privatized country where collective social and physical infrastructures hardly exist? It’s true that not all government resources are directly shared: some people never depend on food stamps, government insurance or public schools. But government is about more than just one person’s well-being – it’s about putting our resources together so they can provide structure for everybody.
Ben DeLuca is a junior ECLS major and the Weekly’s 2012 election columnist. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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