Your Opinion: Government differs from private sector

Dear Editor:

The notion that our government should restrict itself to operating on what’s in the checkbook this month is ridiculous, childish in its sophistication, and utterly uneducated.

Governments run deficits by nature; if they didn’t, many of the tax credit programs we enjoy wouldn’t exist, nor would paved roads, air travel infrastructure, or some military weapons systems deployed in Iraq and Afghanistan. Anytime a government sells bonds for a public works project, they’re taking on debt in order to finance a project now. When did it become en vogue for educated people to be demonstrably stupid about public policy?

Speaking of stupid, there is a current reform trend embraced by many elected officials and conservatives called “New Public Management.” (NPM) argues government should operate more like the private sector in terms of organization and decisionmaking.

The public sector isn’t designed to work like the private, nor can it and effectively fulfill its role in American society, no matter what you think that role is.

Government isn’t about earning a profit; it should be about protecting the most vulnerable; providing for a national defense; ensuring a fair playing field while allowing the “guiding hand” of free market principles to drive the economy; and improving the lives of citizens through scientific research and innovation. Anyone arguing that embracing the private sector as the only way out of this mess needs their head examined.

I remind all of you who have posted arguments to this effect that just three short years ago, we were all sitting around our tables at night, worried, wondering what was going to happen to our families as we teetered on the edge of a second Great Depression. History tells us we were only hours away from economic disaster without drastic action taken by the federal government. Remember those NINJA (no income, no job or assets) loans and post-bailout AIG bonuses? Who’s responsible for all of that?

The biggest trick the rich have pulled on the middle class is to have gotten all of us thinking we can be them. Stop being lazy and letting Sean Hannity do your thinking for you. When the rank and file of this country figure out that we have a lot more in common with each other than we do with bankers, CEOs, and politicians our government will work more like we want it to “by the people and for the people.”

Issue-oriented letters to the editor in response to this or about other local topics are welcome. All letters should be limited to 400 words. The author's name must appear with the letter, and the name, address and phone number provided for verification. Letters that cannot be verified by telephone will not be published. Send letters for publication to editor@newstribune.com

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