Sunday, January 21, 2007

What Should Government Do?

Laura Sperling wrote an excellent column in the SHT yesterday. If you haven't read it you should. She has a wonderful way of saying what many of us wonder about:

Conservatives and libertarians tend to think that government should provide for public safety and not much more. Govern least to govern best, etc.

I, on the other hand, believe government should work much harder than that. As long as recipients do the dishes, put a chicken in every pot.

Government should build infrastructure, save the environment, educate us, broaden opportunity, level the playing field, cure disease, end injustice, support the arts, forecast hurricanes precisely, and unlock the secrets of the universe.

For starters.

Demanding as I am, though, I do not expect government to provide me with a critical mass of high-quality retail.

I'm 99 percent sure the phrase is not in the Constitution, but the idea keeps popping up at Sarasota City Commission meetings. Municipal movers and shakers apparently believe that shopping is so central to our future that it warrants special nurturing by government.

Freedom to shop is grand. It contributes to the general economy. But as civic ideals go, a "critical mass of high-quality retail" falls way short of "justice for all."

Heck, it doesn't even measure up to "timely garbage collection."

Unlike, say, sewage treatment, retail is a competitive, for-profit enterprise. The private sector seems eminently qualified to sink or swim on its own.

Something to think about. Read the entire column.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I'm pretty sure that curing disease and supporting the arts isn't in the Constitution either.

So if the government provides what SHE wants, it's okay. If the government provides what someone else might want it to, the private sector should sink or swim.

The government is bad at nearly everything it does when compared to the private sector. Government SHOULD provide just the basics, provide a reasonable safety net, and ensure that the rights of all are respected. THAT is what's in the Consitution. Our city may have lost sight of this by giving away so much and failing to protect it's citizens rights, but this writer is no better.