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.cowboy
    A PERFORMER named Biligbaatar, a member of the AnDa Union troupe from Inner Mongolia, dances at Stair District Library last week during a visit to the Midwest. The nine-member group blends a variety of traditions from Inner and Outer Mongolia. The music is described as drawing from “all the Mongol tribes that Genghis Khan unified.” The group considers itself music gatherers whose goal is to preserve traditional sounds of Mongolia. Biligbaatar grew up among traditional herders who live in yurts. Additional photos are on the back page of this week’s Observer.
  • Front.base Ball
    UMPIRE Thomas Henthorn tosses the bat between team captains Mikayla Price and Chuck Piskoti of Flint’s Lumber City Base Ball Club. Following the 1860 rules, after the bat was grabbed by the captains, captains’ hands advanced to the top of the bat—one hand on top of the other. The captain whose hand ended up on top decided who would bat first. Additional photos of Sunday’s game appear on page 12 of this week’s Observer. The contest was organized in conjunction with Stair District Library’s Hometown Teams exhibit that runs through Nov. 20.
  • Front.chat
    VALUE OF ATHLETICS—Morenci graduate John Bancroft (center) takes a turn at the microphone during a chat session at the opening of the Hometown Teams exhibit at Stair District Library. Clockwise to his left is John Dillon, Jed Hall, Jim Bauer, Joe Farquhar, George Hollstein, George Vereecke and Mike McDowell. Thomas Henthorn (at the podium) kicked off the conversation. Henthorn, a University of Michigan–Flint professor, will return to Morenci this Sunday to lead a game of vintage base ball at the school softball field.
  • Front.cross
    HUDSON RUNNER Jacob Morgan looks toward the top of the hill with dismay during the tough finish at Harrison Lake State Park. Fayette runner Jacob Garrow focuses on the summit, also, during the Eagle Invitational cross country run Saturday morning. Continuing rain and drizzle made the course even more challenging. Results of the race are in this week’s Observer.
  • Front.bear
    HOLDEN HUTCHISON gives a hug to a black bear cub—the product of a taxidermist’s skills—at the Michigan DNR’s Great Youth Jamboree. The event on Sunday marked the fourth year of the Jamboree. Additional photos are on page 12.
  • Front.crossing
    Crossing over—Jim Heiney was given a U.S. flag to carry by George Vereecke (behind Jim in the hat), turning him into the leader of the parade. Bridge Walk participants cross over Bean Creek while, in the background, members of the Morenci Legion Riders cross the main traffic bridge on East Street South. Additional photos appear on the back page of this week’s Observer.
  • Front.hose Testing
    HOSE safety—The FireCatt hose testing company from Troy put Morenci Fire Department hose to the test Monday morning when Mill Street was closed to traffic. The company also checks nozzles and ladders for wear in an effort to keep fire fighters safe while on calls.

Weekly newspaper serving SE Michigan and NW Ohio - State Line Observer ©2006-2016