So do we really want less government or not? It surely has become the mantra chanted throughout the country as we head for these elections.
Ideally it would be great if we all had more money in our hands to take care of things on our own. But there are so many items that we can't do and so we pay money to our cities, state and federal government to do it for us.
It is difficult to work hard to earn enough to live on only to have to fork over a piece of it right off the top. I still remember looking at my first paycheck with shock and disbelief at the much smaller amount I had than what I had expected. We all do everything we can to minimize what we have to contribute to the pot as we search for every deduction and credit we can at tax time.
We have heard a lot about earmarks that dole out our tax money to states without truly being voted on. They are tacked to other "must pass" bills that have to be voted on. Most of the time our Congress cannot even account for all the earmarks that ride along on each bill they pass.
I agree that this way of doing things is not right. But it is one of those things that has to be undone slowly and the right way, not just stopped without a plan. With a plan in place it would cause minimal disruption to our economy.
This brings me to the call to reduce our government spending. Each of us needs to take a look at how many ways we benefit from the spending of our government. It is easy to point at programs that we don't personally benefit from and say, "Cut those."
But the minute the cuts affect us personally, we start screaming or at least pointing fingers at others who we are sure are profiting undeservedly while we suffer.
Every walk of life gets something back from the taxes they pay. We all use roads and highways and our state has seen much funding to improve I-15 and US 6. Because we have a system of federally funded roads, we can travel from state to state seamlessly and don't have to worry that some states won't maintain those routes.
Our colleges benefit from grants to fund research and aid to students so they can attend classes and obtain degrees. Our schools collect Title 1 funds and use other grants for increasing the education opportunities for our children.
Farmers have benefited from dams and water projects funded by federal money. Some receive subsidies to help them be competitive in the market place with their crops.
Our miners are safer than decades before because of federal oversight. Locally, our law enforcement programs are better equipped due to grants. Even our savings accounts are protected because of government programs.
Our country is protected by a unified military. We have airports all over the nation that are funded by federal dollars and it is federal controllers who protect and direct traffic in our air space overhead.
Federal cash has helped artists to athletes; miners to machinists; doctors as well as drug addicts; babies and business owners, and all in between.
I could go on and on, but the point is, which of these supports are we willing to give up? As with any diet, there will be some favorite things we need to cut back on or give up all together. It also then has to be a true lifestyle change to be effective.
To do so we need to be willing to put it all on the table or admit we are not really ready to make the hard changes necessary.