In many cases, government is the solution

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I am asking for your help in understanding a couple of popular sayings, usually heard in conservative circles: that “government is not the solution to our problem; government is the problem,” and “Government does not create jobs; individuals and businesses do.”

I must admit, they both sound good on first hearing, but with just a little bit of common sense and scrutiny, one has to reach the conclusion that these popular sayings are nothing short of pure propaganda. Even those who repeat them have a difficult time trying to defend them in honest debate. Instead, they usually resort to name-calling: i.e., “socialist,” “anti-American,” “liberals” – code words for everything wrong with America.

SO WHY DO they say these quotes if they cannot defend them? They do it because they are either naïve or scheming. Either way, they want us to believe that the government is the enemy, and that if government got out of the way, they would fare quite well on their own. They call it rugged individualism. I call it foolishness.

No person or business makes it without the help of the government in some way. Whether it is creating an environment in which businesses can operate without fear of unfair competition, or ensuring that banks are properly regulated so that people are not taken advantage of, or providing roads, schools, etc., the government is involved.

HOWEVER, PRESIDENT Reagan himself said that government is “not the solution to our problem; government is the problem.” He suggested that business knows best how to solve them, and that if government got out of the way, our economic woes would disappear. There now is an effort afoot to eliminate certain people from participating in the government by putting up hurdles to make it more difficult to vote – something that is very unconstitutional, in my humble opinion.

Yet those who wrap themselves up in the fabric of the Constitution are the very ones who are destroying it with their undemocratic ways of governing, crying out for an oligarchy or plutocracy – and doing it without regard to the dire consequences of such a movement.

THE NOTION THAT “government does not create jobs; businesses and individuals do” is half-right. I would dare anyone to refute the fact that the U.S. government creates every job out at Savannah River Site. The government pays every person out there, either directly or indirectly. DuPont, the contractor hired in the 1950s to build and operate the facility, did not create SRS; the government did. All public facilities are created by the government, and are funded and operated by the government.

President Obama was correct when he said in a recent campaign speech that businesses did not make it on their own, and that government helped them along the way. Anyone with a brain in his or her head knows this. There is no way around it. The thought that anyone can make it by himself or herself has always been anathema to American thinking because we all know that it is not true. No man is an island unto himself, and no business either.

FOR THOSE WHO suggest such crazy notions as those mentioned above should call for a moratorium on all government services for a year, and see how well they fare then. Let them keep their tax money in their pockets and spend it as they see fit. They say that they know best how to spend it. Please, let us give them a chance to do that. The truth of the matter is that it is all political rhetoric, corrupt influence and demagoguery to gain economic and political power.

Edmund Burke, the Irish statesman, in a speech on economic reform in 1780, said, “Corrupt influence, which is itself the perennial spring of all prodigality, and all disorder; which loads us, more than millions in debt; which takes away vigour from our arms, wisdom from our councils, and every shadow of authority and credit from the most venerable parts of our constitution.”

(The writer is a former Augusta City Council member and a retired labor relations manager from Bechtel Savannah River Inc.)

Comments (14) Add comment
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willie7
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willie7 08/12/12 - 07:49 am
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Great article, Grady; keep
Unpublished

Great article, Grady; keep 'em coming.

soapy_725
43963
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soapy_725 08/12/12 - 10:31 am
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War created SRS
Unpublished

and SRS required the Strom Thurmond Dam for electricity. War creates demand just a public interest in a product. Industry provides the supply. In this case heavy water. Same with the TVA. War is a customer. Government is the middle man. Semantics. Chicken and egg. If providing "providing for the common defense" equates to government creating business. Then more power to you. Government creates a demand for a product no more or less than women washing clothes with a rock. Buildings, planes. airfields, hospitals, guns, bullets, tanks, helicopters, Hum V's, uniforms, assorted berets, MRE's, etc.

soapy_725
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soapy_725 08/12/12 - 10:36 am
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you logic would follow
Unpublished

that we all go to work for the government, 100%, along with all private industry and medical resources. Maybe eliminating private industry as a middle man will fund the deficit? Welcome to the now failed USSR. Which only lasted 80 years because the US government subsidized their social experiment with US taxpayer dollars. All the while claiming the Great Bear was coming to destroy America. As they said We will destroy you from within. And thus they have.

soapy_725
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soapy_725 08/12/12 - 10:46 am
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Shut down government services?
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Shut down oil refineries, factories, gas stations, banks, grocery stores, all private for profit sources? Not taxes collected. No revenue generated? Then who will cry UNCLE first? The government of ICELAND and its economy went broke. Those citizens have learned to survive. Who would have thought that people were around a long time before organized government? Families and neighbors and communities actually survived without government services. Long before kings and princes used their sheriffs to confiscate the fruit of people's labors at the point of a sword to build their castles and cathedrals? Long before the kings and princes continues to spend and spend and demand more and more to support themselves and their wars to acquire more land and more taxes.

faithson
5455
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faithson 08/12/12 - 12:08 pm
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cogent reply to all those 'rugged' individualists

Thanks Grady for addressing the economic realities we live with today. Many would argue a need to 'revert' to the good ole times when my grandfather ('30s-60's) was in business and how minimal government intrusion was the norm. Well we have grown every part of our economy since those times to such an extent that 'pouring old wine into new wine sacks' just won't work and in fact does not work. One of the great ironies is of course that the last republican president grew our government faster than any other had in HISTORY, a fact that gets swept under the rug by those espousing 'shrink government to a size that can be drowned in a bathtub'.

Doug Duncan
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Doug Duncan 08/12/12 - 12:46 pm
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Grady

There is definitely a role for government, as long as it stays within the powers given to it by the constitution. Unfortunately under Rossevelt the Federal government began passing laws and creating administrative agencies at an insane pace. The result was an increasing control over economic activities. It used taxation to not only fund legimate governmental duties but to redistribute wealth, finance welfare programs, create large public works programs, etc... This unconstitutional power grab continues to expand today. So, there is a place for government, ours has just greatly over reached its authority.

faithson
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faithson 08/12/12 - 01:20 pm
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Doug

and you would have America look like.. like.. the banana republics of south america where the poor fend for themselves on piles of garbage put out by the oligarch's... not an America I and many have a vision of living in. If one really believes that the oligarch's would have done for the 'people' what the representatives of the people have done, history says otherwise.

Doug Duncan
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Doug Duncan 08/12/12 - 02:38 pm
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Faithson

No, America should be a country where individuals have the right to acquire and posses property which represents the fruit of their labor. In other words each person has the right to pursue happiness as they choose. And, there should not be an all powerful central government that can take away the amount it chooses and redistribute as it sees fit. That's my vision. I call it freedom.

Little Lamb
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Little Lamb 08/12/12 - 02:06 pm
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Grady Abrams wrote,

“I would dare anyone to refute the fact that the U.S. government creates every job out at Savannah River Site.”
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
No, Mr. Abrams, the government did not create the jobs at your former workplace, Savannah River Plant (now called ‘Site’). This economic belief was masterfully exposed as a fallacy in the 1800s by French economist and philosopher Frederick Bastiat. It has been refuted by many learned economists since then, such as von Mises, Hayek, Rothbard, Friedman and many more. The great economist and writer Henry Hazlitt brought the proof home for laymen in his great book, Economics in One Lesson, and I encourage all commenters here to find a copy and read it.

The lesson is this — learn to formulate in your mind that which is not seen with your eyes. You can see those workers at SRS. You can see the buildings, the equipment, etc. Those things you can see are the result of taxation, i.e., extortion of our earnings by governmental force, force backed up by governmentally-wielded guns.

What most people do not see, are all the jobs not created, all the buildings not built, all the inventions never created, all the dreams never realized had we individuals been allowed to keep the fruits of our labor and invest it in what we really wanted in the first place. By running our money through government bureaucracies, we lost not only efficiencies, but we lost our very spirit of liberty.

Governments create nothing. They merely plunder from the productive workers and fashion something less than we would have had if the free market had been allowed to work.

david jennings
624
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david jennings 08/12/12 - 03:15 pm
0
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Opinion, that's all.

Opinion, that's all.

Conservative Man
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Conservative Man 08/12/12 - 03:27 pm
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LL.

You nailed it! Government produces NOTHING!!. It takes from those who DO produce and uses it to it's purpose.
Having said that, government does have specific purposes outlined in the Constitution...But the sad reality is that the "Imperial Federal Government", through time,and with the willing aid of a compliant media and ignorant populace, has managed to invade almost every aspect of the average American's daily life.....
The government ITSELF is not evil, but the men who we elect to manage it become so in many cases.
Mr. Abrams is an intelligent man. And his analysis is generally well thought out and thought provoking. But in this case, I think that his defense of government is a bit off the mark....
Government can facilitate....but it DOES NOT PRODUCE....there is a difference.....

tckr1983
365
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tckr1983 08/12/12 - 03:46 pm
5
1
They created a job!

http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2012/08/11/ig-report-ag-dept-spent-2m-on...

How can anyone say the Guv'mint doesn't create jobs...

Face meets palm. If we had any idea how much taxpayer money is truly wasted on a year to year basis... I think there'd be rioting in the streets. You think any private business would run a 2 million dollar program to hire one person? Not just no, but heck no!

burninater
9799
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burninater 08/12/12 - 04:01 pm
3
8
What most people do not see,

What most people do not see, are all the jobs not created, all the buildings not built, all the inventions never created, all the dreams never realized had we individuals been allowed to keep the fruits of our labor and invest it in what we really wanted in the first place. By running our money through government bureaucracies, we lost not only efficiencies, but we lost our very spirit of liberty.
--------
I've lived in rural communities without an SRS, or a Fort Gordon, or an NSA, or a GHSU. I know no one likes to admit it, but there are large swathes of this country where private investment has little to no incentive to exist on a large scale. We can absolutely cut off gov't creation of jobs. But I guarantee you won't recognize the South, Augusta included, by the time it's done. And I don't mean that in a good way.

myfather15
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myfather15 08/12/12 - 07:12 pm
2
2
I could say a lot, but Doug

I could say a lot, but Doug Duncan has already spoken for me, very well I might add.

Government does have a place; To protect my life and liberty, therefore I CAN PERSUE Happiness.

Government also DOES NOT supply jobs, you and I do. Government has no money of itself, the only money is has is FROM YOU AND I. Therefore, how can the government ITSELF, supply anything, WE SUPPLY ALL OF IT, to include those wasteful government employees (GSA Anyone??). Anyone who deals with federal government of ANY KIND, on a regular basis, realizes just how inept federal government is. Their employees are usually some of the most rude, irritable people you could deal with. They think they are entitled and show it very much so. Its just amazing to me that AS WASTEFUL as our federal government is, FROM TOP TO BOTTOM, that people still trust them. I wouldn't trust them to run a toilet bowl cleaning business.

Bantana
2071
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Bantana 08/12/12 - 07:15 pm
3
1
without government...

assistance the american midwest would be ghostly. all those farmers needing price supports/subsidies, cheap government loans to mitigate their bad choices, flex fuel schemes, etc. would have packed up and moved away decades ago.

faithson
5455
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faithson 08/12/12 - 07:30 pm
2
1
basic question ?

the basic question is : do we trust the oligarch's and the coporatocracy to be in charge ? Vote Mittens if you do.. Obamler if you don't.. (actually, Obamler is in bed with the dudes too, so we are all screwed no matter) unless we have the gonads to get a third party up and running...

Little Lamb
48004
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Little Lamb 08/12/12 - 08:59 pm
1
1
Burn,

you offer no rebuttal to the argument that it is the sweat, the muscle, the brain, the capital of the individual that creates wealth in this world. The force of government merely impedes economic progress by taking the proceeds of the individual's earnings.

Government cannot create wealth; it can only plunder the wealth earned by workers and redistribute that wealth around, by caprice and cronyism.

YeCats
11648
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YeCats 08/12/12 - 09:46 pm
2
0
Who's the single largest

Who's the single largest employer in the US?

15 trillion dollars in dept. There's a whole lot more going on in DC, than protection and making sure I've got clean water/air. This is the solution?

Looks like UPS, Fedx, and others have the right business model.
Use to be you couldn't fight city hall!

par 3
50
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par 3 08/16/12 - 04:25 am
0
0
All of us have our opinions

All of us have our opinions on how the government should work and it is usually shaped by the culture we grew up in. If you are rich, you want less government regulations and more tax incentives. If you are poor, you want more government regulations and more government aid. I understand these two positions quite well. However, if you are middle class, then you want the rich and yourself to get a tax break, take away benefits from the poor. It is not the poor that is getting ahead on the taxpayers' back, it's the rich - the two percent that own forty percent of the country's wealth.

All three classes have something in common, though: They want the government to do something for them beyond what the Constitution says. Do we really want to live under a dead constitution or one that is alive? I prefer the live one where each generation gets an opportunity to test the spirit of the law. The letters of the law remain dead until this generation pumps new life in it according to the times in which we live, and test it.

There are countless examples that could be cited, e.g., segregation, women's right to vote, corporations being persons etc.

Truth of the matter, there is no strict constitutionist. It, like being a pure Christian, is an illusion at worst and something we strive toward at best.

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