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.train
    WRECKAGE—Morenci Fire Department member Taylor Schisler walks past the smoking wreckage of a semi-truck tractor on the north side of the Norfolk and Southern Railroad tracks on Ranger Highway. The truck trailer was on the south side of the tracks
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    SCULPTORS—Morenci third grade students Emersyn Thompson (left) and Marissa Lawrence turn spaghetti sticks into mini sculptures Friday during a class visit to Stair District Library. All Morenci Elementary School classes recently visited the library to experience the creative construction toys purchased through the “Sculptamania!” project, funded by a Disney Curiosity Creates grant. The grant is administered by the Association for Library Services to Children, a division of the American Library Association.
  • Funcolor
    LEONIE LEAHY was one of three local hair stylists who volunteered time Friday at the Morenci PTO Fun Night. Her customer, Aubrey Sandusky, looks up at her mother while her hair takes on a perfect match to her outfit. Leahy said she had a great time at the event—nothing but happy clients.
  • Shadow.salon
    LEARNING THE ROPES—Kristy Castillo (left), co-owner of Mane Street Salon, works with Kendal Kuhn as Sierra Orner takes a phone call. The two Morenci Area High School juniors spent Friday at the salon as part of a job shadowing experience.
  • KayseInField
    IN THE FIELD—2004 Morenci graduate Kayse Onweller works in a test plot of wheat in Texas. She’s part of Bayer CropScience’s North American wheat breeding program based in Nebraska, where she completed post-graduate work in plant breeding and genetics.
  • Front.winner
    REFEREE Camden Miller raises the hand of Morenci Jr. Dawgs wrestler Ryder Ryan as his opponent leaves the mat in disappointment. Morenci’s youth wrestling program served as host for a tournament Saturday morning to raise money for the club. Additional photos are on the back page.
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    SHERWOOD STATE Bank opened its Fayette office at a grand opening Friday morning, drawing a large crowd to view the renovated building. Above, Burt Blue talks to teller Cindy Funk, while his wife, Jackie, looks around the new office. The Blues missed the opening and took a quick tour on Tuesday. Few traces remain of the former grocery store and theater, however, part of the original brick wall still shows in the hallway leading to the back of the building. The drive-through window should be ready for customers later in the month.
  • Front.make.three
    FROM THE LEFT, Landon Wilkins, Ryan White and Logan Blaker try out their artistic skills Saturday afternoon at the Morenci PTO’s first Date to Create event. More than 50 people showed up to create decorated planks of wood to hang from rope. The event served as a fund-raiser for miscellaneous PTO projects. Additional photos are on the back of this week’s Observer.

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