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“Every time you have an occasion to take something from the federal government and send it back to the states, that’s the right direction. And if you can go even further and send it back to the private sector, that’s even better,” said Mitt Romney. Americans, however, should not be fooled by small government promises of greater costefficiency and reduced taxes. A Small Federal Government The way to achieve a small federal government is through reducing the federal workforce, which can be achieved through attrition, eliminating programs or transferring programs and functions to the states, or through privatization. A recent public opinion poll indicates 64% of Americans prefer a government with fewer services and lower taxes. But is small government better government, or do the calls for smaller government just “sound good”? Certainly no one should want a large -- or small -- federal government that does not serve America’s needs, or does not embrace the Constitution’s preamble. By fewer services, does the 64% mean during hard times that the federal government should not invest in creating jobs, assist families and those who do not possess the wherewithal to address their problems? Do they mean the federal government should not protect the rights of Americans and provide services equally from state to state, thereby forming an imperfect union where one state decides to do some things where other states decide not to? Federal Government program transfers to the states Now it’s true that states can assess their needs better at the local level than the federal government.
But no one should be under an illusion that a small federal government would lessen their taxes. Reducing the size of the federal government would require shifting many duties and responsibilities to the states. But that places a greater burden on the states, and would mean an increase in state government’s size and scope. The states then would need to decide either to eliminate services or raise taxes. So, the effect of small government will not necessarily reflect a reduction in one’s taxes. When states raise property or income taxes, the middle class carry the burden. So while republicans pledge not to raise federal taxes on the middle class, they instead, knowingly, will do so at the state level. And, that 64% would not be better served because services provided in one state may be different, or simply not exist, in another state. Federal Government program transfers to the private sector Privatization is a term that means the shift of responsibility for a function from government to the private sector. Vouchers, such as has been proposed by republicans for Medicare, are a form of privatization. Republicans also want to privatize Social Security, public education, and the U.S. Postal Service. Even though privatization has been promoted as cost-effective and a solution for government inefficiency, it will lead to lower wages and no public accountability. Privatized businesses do not operate in the public interest. The incentive for business is to reduce costs and to maximize profits; not to serve citizens. And privatization plans will still need tax assessments, because such plans require government oversight and need to be regulated. No one, however, should forget the economic meltdown in 2007, and the money people lost in their 401k Retirement Plans. If at that time, government programs like social security had been privatized, retired senior citizens would not have survived. They would have loss all benefits, not only in private retirement plans and in their social security investment, but their medical benefits as well. As it happened, as a result of the meltdown, many retirees did lose most or all of their private investments but they had social security and Medicare.
Government provides help for all of its citizens, regardless of their ability to pay. We should not let capitalist decide who they will serve or who they will not serve. Consideration of profit should not be a part of the impetus to provide for America’s wellbeing.