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This Weeks Proves, Again, How Much We Need Government

by: DocJess

Fri Apr 19, 2013 at 15:00:47 PM EDT


As I write this, Boston, and its suburbs, is locked down as law enforcement seeks the second bomber. Meanwhile, from Texas, Rick Perry (who has in the past pushed for the secession of Texas from the US, and likely opposed the help the Feds approved after Sandy) is begging for Federal aid for West, Texas, which actually does need it.

But back to Boston. Who is out looking for the bomber? Government workers. Tirelessly, bravely, not thinking about the potential personal harm: these folks rush in because it's what they do. The hospitals that treated the injured after the Boston Marathon bombing? Federal funds recipients for Medicaid and Medicare patients, as well as payment for people who need help and have no insurance. The last thing on anyone's mind as the patients flowed in Monday was who was going to pay. A lot of the doctors and nurses wouldn't hold their degrees today if not for student loans, backed by the Feds, sometimes direct from the Feds. Even in my generation, when education was much cheaper and it was possible to put oneself through college, it was impossible to get through med school without loans. Research? Clinical trials? Lots of things that make hospitals do what they do? Again, government funding.

This is not to say that there are non-government employees who provided photos and videos, and rushed in to help at the initial blast...but it's the FBI doing facial recognition on all those hundreds of thousands of photos and tapes. It's the FBI that announced yesterday they'd be providing victim assistance. 

This morning I was at the car dealer to get something recalled fixed on my car (no, I'm not clear what) and the TV was on, and everyone was discussing the bombing and making fun of the idiot on the street reporting for CNN. I got into a conversation with a guy who explained to me why government was bad, why we shouldn't have to pay such high taxes...if you know me, you know the conversation...but today it was peppered with me pointing to the TV screen -- at the cops and other government officials...what would happen if they weren't there? Didn't he think they deserved decent salaries and benefits? He was so beholden to his teabag beliefs that I actually might have given up, but it turns out that I was amoungst people who shared the view that government matters. To all of us. 

It may take a Sandy storm, or a Boston bombing, or a Texas explosion to get us to focus...but every year is an election year. Often odd-numbered years are when we vote for the local people who fund (or don't fund) the policemen, firemen, teachers, public works workers....they're out there doing good 24/7/365. Remember that this November.

DocJess :: This Weeks Proves, Again, How Much We Need Government

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FAA Funding (0.00 / 0)

Today saw another reminder of how much people want government.  Cutting government spending in general is somewhat popular, when that cutting is to a very visible program that has clear public impact, people want to think twice.

Apparently, the bill switches funding within the FAA from infrastructure programs to avoid the need to furlough air traffic controllers.  As a fix, this avoids the immediate public consequences of the sequester.  However, delaying needed expenditures to upgrade the air traffic system will bite us in the long run.

On a related note, the first estimate from the first quarter showed that, considering just the direct effect of reductions to federal government spending, budget cuts in the first quarter reduced GDP by 0.65% (i.e. without the budget cuts GDP would have grown by 3.15% rather than 2.5%.  Of course, that ignores the multiplier effect of government spending (or reductions in government spending) on consumer spending and business investment (some of which will show up in the second quarter in three months).




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