Federal help :Big government isn't always so bad 2011.09.21

Written by David Green.

The hypocrisy is, as they say, thick enough to cut with a knife.

It’s certainly nothing new—politicians’ words often stray from their actions—but it seems to have multiplied greatly during the nation’s challenges of the past three years.

The hypocrisy really got going with the distribution of “stimulus funds” as politicians railed against the expenditure of federal dollars, then later took credit for the jobs and projects the money created.

Next came the Gulf oil spill of July 2010. A little more than a year before that tragedy, Louisiana governor Bobby Jindal said in a speech, “There has never been a challenge that the American people, with as little interference as possible by the federal government, cannot handle.”

Then came the spill and Jindal is still seeking “interference” from the federal government. Among many politicians, the call for small government turned to criticism of the federal government for not taking a larger role.

The sanctimonious actions multiplied again this year as a string of extreme weather events challenged state and local budgets in many areas of the country.

Of course it’s the most vocal opponents of government who look the worst when they later decide that government needs to be big enough to help them through a tragedy.

In 2009, Texas governor Rick Perry hated government so much that he talked about his state seceding from the Union. 

Then came the wildfires.

Last month the governor said, “I full well expect the federal government to come in to do their part.” Fortunately for Texans, the state is still part of the United States.

It’s easy to get a chuckle from the foibles of a few individuals, but the concern about their beliefs goes deeper than merely noting their hypocrisy. The growing attitude that government is bad can lead to changes that affect all of us.

Of course the federal government is bloated. Certainly there’s waste and reform is needed. It’s an enormous undertaking in a country this large. But does that mean government is bad?

The answer depends on what you like about life in America. If you’ve been unemployed, you probably think that unemployment insurance is important. If you’re a low wage earner, you appreciate the existence of a minimum wage. If you’re a parent, you might be thankful for laws in place regarding child labor.

These examples are given because there are small-government politicians who want to cut them all out. Women appreciate laws giving them equal standing in the workplace. People living near industries benefit from environmental regulations—something the Chinese can only wish for.

There are major political figures wanting to get rid of Medicare and eliminate Social Security or base it on the whims of the stock market. Be careful with your vote; you might not appreciate the consequences.

Is government our enemy? Just wait until the next disaster and we’ll talk it over.

  • Front.little Ball
    Fayette's Demetrious Whiteside (left)Skylar Lester attempt to keep the ball from going out of bounds during Morenci's recent basketball tournament for fourth and fifth grade teams. Morenci's Andrew Schmidt stands by.
  • Front.tug
    MORENCI pep rallies generally end with a tug of war. The senior class entry, shown above, did not advance to the finals. Griffin Grieder, Alaina Webster, Kyle Long and Jazmin Smith are shown at the front of the rope, giving it their best effort.
  • Accident
    FAYETTE resident Patricia Stambaugh, 64, was declared dead on the scene of a single-vehicle accident Friday morning south of Morenci. Rescue units were called around 9 a.m., but as of Tuesday, law enforcement officers had not yet determined the time of the accident. According to Ohio State Highway Patrol, Stambaugh was driving west on U.S. 20 when her Chevrolet Malibu traveled off the north side of the road and down a steep embankment, coming to rest in Bean Creek (Tiffin River).
  • Athletic Fields
    SPORTS COMPLEX—Fayette’s outdoor athletic facilities will include three ball fields for summer recreation leagues at the southwest corner of the school. The baseball and softball fields, along with the running track, will be constructed on the east side of the school. Outdoor athletic fields were not part of the new school project from 2007, but voters approved a $1.4 million levy for a school addition and the sports fields last August. Both projects are scheduled to be complete by July 20.
  • Front.teacher Leading
    PRESCHOOL MUSIC—Fayette band director Jeffrey Dunford spends the last half hour of the day leading the full-day preschool class in musical activities. Additional photos are on page 7 of this week’s Observer.
  • Front.F.band
    TROMBONISTS Jake Myers (left) and Max Baker perform Friday at the annual Senior Citizens Luncheon at Fayette High School. The National Honor Society and the FFA chapter teamed up to serve a meal to area seniors and to provide musical entertainment. Both the school band and choir performed. Additional photos are on page 7 of this week’s Observer.
  • Front.poles
    MOVING EAST—Utility workers continue their slow progress east along U.S. 20 south of Morenci. New electrical poles are put in place before wiring is moved into place.

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