Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Where's that "big government"?

One result of that awful oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico is that we are no longer hearing much from the "small government" crowd. People like Bobby Jindal, governor of Louisiana, who just a year ago was decrying the growth of the federal government and its interference in the lives of states, corporations, and individuals, are now complaining that the federal government is not doing enough fast enough to get the spill stopped and cleaned up. In the face of all the damage done to the economy along the coast, not to mention to the ecology, Jindal and his fellow "small government" governors in that area are begging for more federal money, more federal action, more federal interference to clean the mess up.

Of course, they were, and for the most part still are, dead set against any kind of regulation or oversight that might have prevented this catastrophe. But now that it has happened, they expect the federal government to make everything whole again. And to do it yesterday!

The people who decry and denigrate government and call for "drowning it in a bathtub" never seem to get it. They never understand that, in a democracy, the government is US! Those people in Washington were elected by us to be our representatives and they serve at our pleasure. We can bring them home on any election day that they must defend their positions. The government, as Leonard Pitts Jr. said in his column today, "is the imperfect embodiment of our common will." Those who profess to believe that the "free market and the free American" could solve any problem if the government would just get off their backs are delusional. We do need government to regulate society and businesses, to protect us from oil spills and tainted food, to protect our basic rights as citizens from those who would deny them for anyone who disagrees with them. But it takes something like this giant oil spill to make the "small government" people remember that.

Do you think they will still remember it when the oil spill is stopped and on its way to being cleaned up? Wanna bet?

2 comments:

  1. Amen. Profiteers have never chosen safety over short-term gain. This is the same story as the financial meltdown.

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  2. Yes, there are, unfortunately, numerous examples, Kathleen, and it seems that always the guys that profit are against any regulation and oversight, until their "ox is gored." Then they expect the rest of society and the government that they hate so much to jump in and save them.

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