WE Are The Government

Chris Perry and Bret Callentine both made valid points in their Lakewood Observer articles of Oct. 18. It is true, as Mr. Perry states, that the richest 1% of all earners collect nearly 24% of all taxable income in the United States, an increase from 9% in 1980. This upward shift has depressed middle class incomes. Corporations do have too much power. They finance the campaigns of candidates for political office and spend millions of dollars on lobbying. There can be do doubt that they get something for their money. It is in their short-term interest to exploit the planet's resources without concern for it's effect on the environment. They want to keep taxes low and government small and without responsibility for the poorest and most vulnerable in our society.

Bret Callentine is corrrect in defending our capitalistic free enterprise system. It has made us a wealthy nation and is probably the best financial system yet devised. But unfettered capitalism is not a self-regulating system. The goal of capitalism is to make a profit. The goal of government is to promote the common good. These goals are not in opposition to each other. They should be complementary.

Capitalism could work well without government regulation and over-sight if no one was greedy, envious, egotistical, dishonest, or even foolish, gullible, or short-sighted.  Since we are all human, the profit-makers have to be reined in by reasonable regulations. After all, the most successful of our money makers are often the most unscrupulous of our citizens.

Our whole society benefits if all our children are educated to the full extent of their abilities. We need an educated work force to compete in a global economy. Access to good health care for all our people will have enormous societal benefits. Social Security, a system of enforced saving, is popular because it is successful. Poverty among the elderly has almost been eliminated.

The necessity of government regulations and oversight of our financial system was proven when the greed and unscrupulousness of some capitalists almost caused its self-destruction at the end of 2008. Have we forgotten already?

If the government is the problem, not the solution, it is because we, the people, have allowed it to be taken out of our hands by the moneyed interests. The idea of America is government by the people, of the people, and for the people. We, the non-wealthy, are most of the people. 

Helen Brinich

Helen Brinich

Long time resident of Lakewood

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Volume 7, Issue 23, Posted 4:43 PM, 11.15.2011