- Posted September 1, 2012 by
This iReport is part of an assignment:
Election 2012: Your stories
Coming to Our Senses About Government
Indeed, this a problem that derives from our founding fathers and the founding documents that they shaped. The fathers had a vision for a society, in which numerous checks and balances would be placed throughout government infrastructure that would guard against monarchic dominance, frustrate swift action, allow opposing groups to block legislation and stagnate hasty radical change. Our obsession with immediate results in which all groups involved do not compromise is clashing with the sluggish paced nature of our government.
Take for example the unemployment debacle. The American public had to learn the difficult way about the severity of the financial ripples that sent shockwaves across families throughout the nation. Couple this harsh realization along with lethargic response time that legislation, ideological battles for whose party’s response is more effective and assessing the situation, takes. Till this day the unemployment rate is still dangerously high, 9.2 percent; however to the credit of government action the rate has been steadily dropping and corporate gains have increased monthly. Despite the progress, this situation is a testament to the unforgiving pace of governmental progress.
The alternative Pundits and certainly tea party activists arguing the size of federal government is what is causing this slow-motion crisis. Arguments surrounding the size of government are often posed in terms of their effects on economic growth. The federal government’s size and influence along with its bureaucratizing nature is targeted as the problem. The alternative for this portion of society is that devolution should take place. This decentralization would give state governments more flexibility, personalization, discretion and possible quicker response times to their problems. However, even devolution would be taxing and requires time due to the fact that federal government is embedded in myriad facets of public life.
The government intervenes in the economy in four ways. First, it produces goods and services, such as infrastructure, education, and national defense. Measuring the effects of these goods and services is difficult because they are not bought and sold in markets. Second, it transfers income, both vertically across income levels and horizontally among groups with similar incomes and different characteristics. Third, it taxes to pay for its outlays, which can lower economic efficiency by distorting behavior. Not all taxes are equally distortionary, however, so there are ways of reducing the costs of taxation without changing the size of government. Furthermore, deficit spending does not allow the government to escape the burden of taxation since deficits impose their own burden. Finally, government regulation alters economic activity.
The economic effects of regulation are the most difficult to measure, in terms of both costs and benefits, yet they cannot be neglected because they can be interchangeable with taxes or government spending. Even the process involved in fiscal responsibility takes time. However, the part about responsibility is open for questioning and scrutiny.
The thoughts expressed are not meant to indict our government. Our government receives too much negative press and fosters a disparaging view of American politics in our youth and future leaders. During a time in which all need to come together to tackle dilemmas seriously and acknowledge the sluggish nature of our politics, reproachful rhetoric will not help us reach our goals personally and as a nation. Rather, the ideas expressed are meant to shed light on the situation.
The public’s “now” attitude has collided with the sluggish nature of American politics. If studied closely, one can begin to see the merits of the founder’s vision. Without checks and balances our society would run rampant with factions and their ideals toppling each other without democratic and diplomatic discussions where compromise would not exist.
For the moment, the public seems to be losing the fight for swift action. Indeed, government is a democratic institution that enables all individuals and groups from all walks of the life whether for or against the opportunity to state there views and impede on the progress of a process. Take the latest budget debacle as an example of how government resolutions take time and discussions are open to all the appropriate officials. It will be interesting to see how the next dilemma plays out; the time it takes for federal government to respond and how the public rates the governance in terms of effectiveness and overall rapidity.