Former President Ronald Reagan said, “The most terrifying words in the English language are: ‘I’m from the government and I’m here to help.'”
A friend of mine says, “The government does not ‘make’ anything, and it ‘creates’ no wealth. It simply takes from those who labor and redistributes the wealth to others.”
Reagan said, “Government’s view of the economy could be summed up in a few short phrases: If it moves, tax it. If it keeps moving, regulate it. And if it stops moving, subsidize it.”
The problem with oversized, wasteful government and our national debt and tax burden must be addressed. This is not an exclusive problem of one political party but one shared by all — directly or indirectly.
We need to take a closer look at what we agree to be a reasonable and responsible role for government.
Government doesn’t have to be the problem, but when the large majority of Americans distrust their government, it’s time for significant changes.
We have witnessed decades of voter apathy because a large majority of people either don’t care enough to vote or have become too cynical to believe that participation will make a difference.
In the current year of election, however, it appears that widespread voter apathy is converting into citizen outrage regarding government.
Most responsible Americans don’t trust our government to handle anything in an effective and cost-efficient manner.
Perhaps a helpful step toward a different way of understanding government would be to change the way we talk about it.
- Let’s stop saying, “The government should pay for …”
- Instead we should be saying, “You and I should pay for … .”
This is how it actually works, it would be a return to reality to talk this way.
See if it changes your thinking by shifting the conversation back into reality.
Instead of saying, “The government should pay for XYZ,” try saying, “You and I should pay for XYZ,” and see if it changes your view of politicians who offer to help other people with your money.
- Do you feel our government is doing a good job at handling our money?
- Are you encouraged about giving them more money and trusting them to be responsible with it?
- Do you think the federal government should be required to live within their means without borrowing money or placing unreasonable tax burdens on citizens?
- What are we going to do about the reckless irresponsibility in government spending?
We can complain about government all day, but we need to ask hard questions about how to reform and refine it.
In my years of leadership, I’ve always committed to looking for solutions instead focusing on problems and obstacles. Yet I must admit that it’s hard to see a clear path to reforming our government.
I am grateful for the efforts of those in government who serve with integrity by trying to keep costs down to protect citizens from unreasonable tax burdens.
But I fear that bitter political and ideological partisanship and a polarizing 24-hour news media make it nearly impossible for good men and women to be effective servants of the people.
I’ll close with a warning from Ronald Reagan:
“Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn’t pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same, or one day we will spend our sunset years telling our children and our children’s children what it was once like in the United States, where men were free.”