June 24, 2005

Government Best that Governs Least? Or More?

aTypical Joe says: "If you took all the countries in the world, all the places on earth, and measured those with more government versus those with less government, you'd find that those with more government have a higher standard of living and greater human liberty."

He's gotten 2 responses, posted here and here.

A couple of thoughts: there are some services that the govenrment provides, that I wish were not provided at all. And there are some services that our government provides that I think would be better if they were provided privately. And there are some services that our government provides, like air travel safety, in which I think our government is doing a horrible job, and providing a very poor return for our dollar.

So, it's not that I want to pay fewer taxes. It's that I get damn little for the taxes I do pay. National defense? Ok, that's directly useful to me and important to me. Roads? Yeah, they're useful, but there are at least a few porkbarrel bridges and "construction" projects that seem to go on forever. Education? Indirectly useful, I guess. Vouchers all the way, if we want publicly funded education. Fire protection? Never needed it, but useful. But, we have a significantly more aggressive and expensive system than the rest of the world. Safe and effective meds? I guess, although I would prefer going back to the FDA just certifying "safe." Way too much time and money [IMO] gets spent on stage 3 trials, that if consumers were better able to take control of their own health care, could be unnecessary. Police? Hmm. How many billions of dollars are we spending on the drug war? Back in college, in a discussion with a friend, I made the comment that I wasn't sure police were a vital service. And I'm still not. Various things have been stolen from my family, only once has anything been retrieved. I'm presumably benefiting from an increase in law abiding citizens due to cops being around, but I see way too many examples of cops going after what makes various governments money rather than making us safer [meter maids constantly checking parked cars on the street, while ignoring cars blocking the driveway behind my apartment, traffic cops enforcing silly speed limits rather than doing the work required to identify unsafe drivers, parents being jailed for serving alcohol to 16 year olds, etc.]

And that's just the obvious services that reasonable people could want. Much less the nanny-state, pork barrel crap.

And yeah, there are people out there who got screwed over by life, who can't possibly make it in the "real world." But there arn't many. And there are people getting disability who don't fit that category.

And yeah, given infinite resources I can do some amazing things in mental health. But I don't think that's the best use of our resources.

*pant, pant*

So, questions?

Posted by Owlish at June 24, 2005 09:21 PM
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