9 GOVERNMENT AND PEOPLE
“From each according to their ability, to each according to their needs.” was a topic of a speech I gave in the Legislature that prompted some to claim that I was a socialist at heart. It is a worthwhile objective in any type of society.
Everyone has basic ability and everyone has basic needs. In nature individuals could balance one against the other. Because some have greater abilities than others, societies have developed, among other reasons, to provide joint defense, to divide work, to share resources and to enjoy social intercourse. Because of some antisocial aspects in human nature, complete freedom can not be tolerated in society. There are those individuals who would commit crimes or take advantage of others. For example, psychopaths may be void of empathy but may still have abilities useful to society and serve well in positions of authority. Living in society trades off lack of freedom with greater opportunity.
Ability without society can provide nothing above basic needs. Some people, or groups of people, may claim that their production of wealth or income is due to their ability. Far from it. Their start in life, education, experiences and place in society may enable them to maximize their productive capacity. Just as peoples ability may differ, so may their needs. Needs may differ because of, and in order to maximize, their ability. The challenges of exploiting ability may allow, but also require, a more costly standard of living.
Governments roll in society is, or should be, to do those things that individuals can not do by and for themselves. All people in a society want protection of their persons and property. All want services that are impossible or difficult to do themselves. No thinking member of society wants to have people deprived of the basics of life. We accept that we need a Government structure to do this. What is Governments roll in assuring full utilization of ability and the assurance of meeting basic needs ?
Government is trying to do more than is can or should do. “How small of all that human hearts endure, a part that Government can cure.” It would appear that those making decisions have lost touch with people. Government today is underestimating the ability of people to satisfy their needs or to maximize the production from their abilities. The education and lifestyle of our decision makers have narrowed their understanding of the abilities of individuals. They see people as they wish they were, rather than as they really are. They treat people as statistics. Their welfare policies, their tax policies, their education policies, and others, take away the initiative of the individual and fail to yield the intended results. Instead of encouraging savings and production to improve our economy they encourage consumption and weaken society.
Decisions that should be left to the individual are being made, or influenced, by laws and its administrators. By exempting point-of-sales tax from certain consumption, choices of satisfying personal needs are influenced. In addition, a monetary advantage is given to the richer consumers. It would be much fairer to tax all consumption and provide rebate of the point of sales tax to those who need the assistance. Also, the great cost of administrating social assistance could be better spent if paid directly as income to those in need. Such would also influence recipients to greater personal responsibility. Also, the health care system is based on bureaucratic decisions regarding treatment, rather than payment to assure adequate treatment. As long as Government is controlled and administered by the intellectual elite our society will continue along the downward path of all societies over history.
Governments seem to favour paying for things that people may not want or need. They pay Universities instead of students. They pay for a health system rather for health costs that people can not afford. They pay for school rather than for Graduates. They pay for a system of social security rather than pay for a minimum standard of living. They pay subsidies to big businesses but create red tape to kill small business, the drivers of an economy. It seemed funny when a business person said “What, another program to help business, soon they will ruin us all”. Many of the programs of Government provide greater support for the rich than poor.
These supports of systems and things sometimes have no consideration of what is best for the society that they serve. For example, in financing Universities or Trade Schools, the first consideration of Government should be “What skills are most needed in our society”. Then they would know where the money should go. For example, in financing health care, the first consideration should be “What would serve our people best, big hospitals or small clinics close to the people served and without the big overheads.” The big bureaucracy and big political parties and big businesses prefer their power, over service to the people they serve.