To the Editor:
In reply to Sheldon Richman’s denunciation of government that was printed in the June 14 issue of the FPS, the average person does not perceive that government is out of control. We, the average person, believe (correctly), that pundits who spread disgust of government and ignorance of what taxes do for the average citizen, are out of control. He, himself, thinks the government has too much control. He is a libertarian and thinks government should be reduced to a poor toothless nub. Not even worthy of a vote. To suggest any interpretation of the recall vote in Wisconsin is just a guess on his part to further his theme of Privatization of Everything. This leads to a silliness that is not worthy of comment. My guess (and I freely admit it is just a guess) is that many who wanted the governor recalled thought the best way to do this was in the next real election. I would say that shows a respect of our elected officials. Our governor, right or wrong, but until the next election, unless he does something totally unforgiveable, he stays. I would say the average American has a love-hate relationship with the government.
Mr. Richman (an unfortunate name that he owns) paints a cynical picture of government employees. May I paint a more realistic picture? We love our firefighters, our EMTs, our police (most of the time even when they are giving us a speeding ticket), our good teachers and, by and large, we respect those people who we’ve elected to government. We respect doctors working in the public hospitals and love the nurses. We need to honor our military and fight for the survival of the postal service. Our public libraries are for everyone. Our national and state parks keep the best parts of America open for all of us. No one is perfect and we have encountered government employees, regulations, laws and taxes we despise. We argue politics and ridicule the president, but we love our system of government. It works. It is not out of control. It probably needs to evolve and is slow to do so because we, the citizens of the US, have a say in what happens and, like members of a family, we don’t always agree. But we cannot and don’t want to do without it and especially not privatize it. We, who truly love America, don’t love every bit of it, but would we really want to move somewhere else? It could be better in some ways, but it tries and tries and tries. We try. Abolishing government would be anarchy. And taxes help us share in the work of America, in the benefits that it showers on us.
Our public government employees are not tax consumers any more than are those who use those services. Tax dollars kept in a lock box don’t work for us. We don’t fight fires or wars or crime, we pay taxes so someone else can risk their lives to protect us. Our tax dollars work! We could teach our children, but beyond the ABCs, we would find it inefficient and tiresome. Our teachers do this for us with our tax dollars. The goal of these government workers is not “the extraction of wealth from the taxpayers.” I find it odious and insulting and down right stupid to even suggest that, much less to see it stated as if it were fact. First amendment rights allow him to say it, but I have the freedom to shout baloney to him!
We, the taxpayers and citizens choose to have these services and choose our government to organize these things for us for our benefit. We do have a seat at the table. It’s called a vote.
So quit whining, Mr. Richman and pay your taxes. What we get for our tax dollar is all of the above and more. One annual fee plus a guaranteed old age pension and health care. It’s a bargain. Perhaps if your name is Rich-man, you could afford to have all this privately and still have plenty of money left over at the end of the day. But for the 99 percent, it’s a bargain. Taxes are the way we contribute to our freedom and democracy. Without them, there is no future for freedom.
Carolee Lander Luecken