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Hypocrisy_Central's avatar

What are the top five things government should be doing for We The People?

Asked by Hypocrisy_Central (26798points) October 28th, 2010

With all this political hype and all the junk clogging my mail, every Tom, Dick, and Harry wants my vote. Seldom do they ever really tell me what they are going to do for me in any detain just how slimy the other person is, so I shouldn’t vote for them. What do you feel the top five things government should be doing or provide to us, “We The People”?

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6 Answers

Blondesjon's avatar

Fuck the ridiculous, corporate mouthpieces that make up our government. We should be coming up with 5 things We should be doing for We The People.

ETpro's avatar

1—I want the Federal Government to follow the guidelines of the US Constitution.

2—I want our government to protect our borders and project power as necessary to keep any foreign powers who might want to threaten us at bay.

3—I want our government to keep the existing social safety net in place and make sure it is properly funded.

4—I want the Government to make the tax and spending decisions necessary to actually begin paying down the national debt and achieve a balanced budget.

5—I want the Government to work for all people, not just a small handful of special interests who are well connected and can bribe their way to what they want from Washington.

Qingu's avatar

According to the ancient Babylonian Code of Hammurabi, the purpose of government and law is:

to bring about the rule of righteousness in the land, to destroy the wicked and the evil-doers; so that the strong should not harm the weak, so that I (Hammurabi) should rule over the black-headed people like Shamash (the sun god) and enlighten the land, to further the well-being of mankind.

Apart from “ruling over the people”—and, of course, the barbaric-by-our-standards content of the Code—I think this is a great explanation for the fundamental purpose of government. So:

1. “Destroy the wicked and evil-doers.” A better way to put this, I think, is that the government should use force to prevent and punish psychopaths and violent criminals. Note that this basically covers the principle behind national security and anti-terrorism.

2. “So that the strong should not harm the weak.” Strong obviously doesn’t mean just physically strong. In today’s world, this principle should refer to anyone who uses power to take advantage of or oppress people without power. Forms of power include wealth and intelligence. So, the government should make sure poor people aren’t railroaded by wealthy special interests, and that gullible or ignorant people aren’t sold snake oil or defrauded.

3. “To enlighten the land.” The government should provide education for its citizens.

4 and 5. “To further the well-being of mankind.” I’m going to split this into two parts, because to me “well being” includes both a technological standard of living and health care. Obviously, the two are related. But they are approached differently. The government should invest in scientific research and promote a fair market economy that leads to a virtuous cycle of innovation and consumer choice—this leads to technological progress. The government should also provide (or at least help provide) health care for its citizens.

Cruiser's avatar

1) Spend and or invest our tax dollars in a fiscally responsible manner.
2) Preserve and not infringe upon our rights as citizens of this country.
3) Protect our natural resources from destruction and pollution especially our water resources.
4) Provide for and take care of our infrastructure.
5) Maintain an “Army” of sufficient size and no bigger to protect our sovereignty and immediate threats from enemy nations.

Jaxk's avatar

This is an interesting question. It’s not clear if you want philosophical answers or specifics. It’s also not clear if you’re asking about our government or any government, or if it is federal government or all government. So with those caveats, I will go for specific federal government actions right now.

1. Stabilize the business environment. We need jobs and that isn’t going to happen until business has some clue as to what the future holds. We need to extend the current tax rate, shelf Cap N Trade, repeal the Health care bill, and get rid of the ridiculous financial reform that didn’t even address the problem. Basically provide a stable business environment where investment is encouraged rather than penalized.

2. Fix the regulatory environment. For decades we’ve been piling regulation on top of regulation. When we encounter a problem we don’t fix it we simply pile more regulation on top of the old bad regulation. In 1999 we gutted Glass-Steagall, which is one of the major players in the current recession. Instead of fixing the problem by re-instating Glass-Steagall, we decided to leave that alone and create a new financial reform, which completely misses the point. In 2002 we passed Sarbanes-Oxley, which costs American corporations on average $1 million to comply and didn’t fix the problem it was created to address. The books are fraught with this type of regulation that is killing business and not fixing the problem. We need a complete overhaul of the regulatory environment. Based on studies done covering the cost or regulation, we spend about ⅓ of our entire GDP on regulation. If we fixed that problem the recession would be over. And our deficit would be fixed.

3. We have got to streamline our government. The constitution lays out some fairly clear guidelines about what should be federal and what should be state controlled. If it is a state function, let the states do it. If it is a federal function do it right. Currently there is so much overlap between what should be state and the federal government that we duplicate the effort and double the cost. Education is a clear example. The federal government spends $100 billion/yr on education and it is a state function. The DoE has a $50 billion budget but education funding is done in over 100 different federal agencies. So if you want money for education you can apply at one place and if denied, you simply go to the next. Eventually some one will cough up the money. If you’re really clever you keep going and you may get the money from several different agencies. Hell, they don’t coordinate and have no clue what has been granted elsewhere. And it’s a states function, not federal.

4. Balance the budget. This is not easily done and will require a lot of work. The simple answer is to just raise taxes to cover the shortfall. Unfortunately, that would kill our economy and the shortfall would simply get bigger. Streamlining the government and fixing the regulatory environment will go a long ways to reducing the deficit. But we need to look a bit further. Currently no one wants their pet projects or entitlements cut. And frankly I look at most of the big entitlements (SS Medicare, etc.) as a last resort. At least as far as cutting the benefits. But there is no reason we can’t fix the abuse and corruption. First we need to break this down a bit differently. Social Security is running about $500 billion. Revenue from employee and employer contributions add up to about the same $500 billion. Set that aside as a fund to be streamlined and should be self supporting. We look at mandatory spending as something we can’t cut without reducing services but we’re look at it wrong. Mandatory spending is not really mandatory, it only means we don’t go through the congressional appropriations process. So things like congressional salaries (and staff) and presidential salaries, are considered mandatory spending. Hell even the TARP is in ‘Mandatory Spending’. When congress votes themselves a raise, it becomes mandatory spending. It is not sacrosanct. and needs a little visibility. Medicare spending is about $500 Billion and the medicare revenues are about $200 billion. The three hundred billion shortfall needs to be addressed. A large piece of it is fraud and abuse (same thing with Social security). Obama feels he can pull about $50 billion out just in fraud and abuse but he has already spent it on his health care. Hell he spent it before we even know how much is there. And he spent it on another underfunded entitlement program. We just can’t do that if we plan to balance the budget.

5. Defense is an integral part of the federal government. It is too high. Cutting programs from defense however is not for the feint of heart. But it would make sense for us to begin charging for some of our foriegn defense. We maintain a large military presence in S.Korea and Berlin. If they want us there, they should help to pay for that presence. If not we should close down. It is nice to be the worlds police force but at some point the world needs to help pay for it.

Anyway, these are just a few of my favorite things. Much more detail is warranted but time and space precludes it. If we get out of this recession, we can then go for all the social reform and welfare projects that seem to be so popular and drive ourselves back into recession. But let’s at least get back on an even keel before we drive ourselves into bankruptcy.

mammal's avatar

Confucius believed that a good government was the basis for a peaceful and happy society. And the basis for a good government was good officials.

Li

for ritual etiquette, manners, gravity
“Men’s natures are alike, it is their habits that carry them far apart”

Ren

stands for Kindness to the fellow man
“Forget injuries, never forget kindnesses”

Xin

stands for truthfulness, faithfulness and sincerity
“The superior man is modest in his speech, but exceeds in his actions”

Yi

for righteousness or honesty, generosity of soul
“When we see men of a contrary character, we should turn inwards and examine ourselves”

Zhi

for knowledge of right and wrong , earnestness
“To see what is right, and not do it, is want of courage”

But for me personally a good government should be comprised of people selected by the people who are fit to govern but need persuading to govern, rather than people who try to persuade us that they are fit to govern.

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