Letters to the Editor

Government serves key function

A recent report in a local paper about the candidates vying for Congress, as I recall it, was discouraging. The recurrent themes from the lot were: smaller government, lower taxes, "we'll take our country back," strong support for the right to bear arms (unfettered by government regulation), and reversing the socialist trend of the present administration.

Who would not prefer a smaller government presence and lower taxes? No one wants an overseer (teacher, boss, the media, cops). There are few who would pay more in taxes than charged.

The fact is government is huge, ever present and costly. To expect it to shrink substantially is improbable. There are occasions when the public or a large segment of the public are thankful for a large, active government. Say there was a major oil spill that threatened the coast of some state. Say there were massive problems with the way the financial system was allowed to operate without regulation; or an epidemic was really going to cause dreadful health problems for babies, old people or any other group. Suppose there was a mine disaster. Any need to have a Bureau of Mine Safety? Would the public have any concern if there was no meat inspection program? There is a compelling need for big, effective government assistance to be there when an actual crisis occurs.

Any individual running for national office must acknowledge that there is a real probability of raising taxes (for someone else, not me). How will the debt be reduced? How will Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid and Department of Defense be funded? Please get away from the need to promise staunch support for carrying guns - that issue is settled. There are serious issues that have to have bright, cooperative people addressing them; tell us how you will better the energy problem, the health care problem, the jobs/economy problem, and preserve the environment for future generations.

The writer lives in Pawleys Island.