Sunday, April 17, 2011

It only took a sentence or two

I have the standard clock-radio that is only used for waking up. FM reception is a little dicey in my part of the world because of an antenna close by, so I tune the dial for AM. Once I'm awake, I shut off the radio -- which is something of a comment on the quality of programming on the dial.

The other day, the radio came on in the middle of a bit of a monologue by the right-wing host. It didn't take long for him to say, "the government doesn't do jack for us."

This host was talking on a radio station, in which the frequencies are regulated so that not every radio station is on the same part of the dial. Otherwise, chaos would result. When the show was over, he probably looked at his mail, delivered by the U.S. Postal Service. He hopped in his car, driving on roads built by the local and state governments. He might stop for lunch, where the food and drink have to pass health standards in order to keep customers safe. The garbage from that meal goes into a bin and might be picked up by the city or town sanitation department.

Perhaps our host will go home and plan his vacation. When it arrives, he'll go through security, so that his plane will be safe to fly in the skies. He'll take off and land through the work of the air traffic controllers (yes, a couple of have been dozing lately, and the resulting publicity shows what an important function they have). Then maybe he'll hop in a car, built to safety regulations that help get him to his destination in one piece. He'll drive on an Interstate highway, a government-built infrastructure device that is crucial to the economy. Maybe he'll head for a National Park Service site to get away from it all.

I'm obviously scratching the surface here.

Nobody wants more government than is necessary, and we want it run efficiently. We also don't want to pay for it all, which is why we've had deficits for most of the past few decades. But to say government doesn't do anything for the population is either not paying attention or out of touch with reality. Or both.

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