A Lesson Learned Once Again

The Republican Party is now over 40 years into their little experiment trying to prove night and day that government doesn’t work. Pretty much the first thing out of Republican politician’s mouth is that “government doesn’t work.” When that is company motto, the employees go all out to make sure it is true.

Somehow voters buy this message that government doesn’t work. Then is some sort of a fit of truly questionable logic, elect the politicians that claim government doesn’t work thinking in some strange backward way these folks will make government work. What voters don’t seem to realize is like so many things said during a campaign, this is not a statement of fact but a promise of what is to come.

Republicans seem to believe that private business somehow works much better. What they don’t consider is that private business may be better able to deliver a product, but only in a very narrowly focused selected area. Outside of that narrowly focused slice they are incompetent. Thinking that business by its nature will be better in any area than government is a huge leap.

The previous administration left is many examples of this kind of illogical thinking that will take a long time to dig out of. The first that leaps to mind is the USPS. While the Post Office has been hampered by previous Republican administrations the last one actively took dynamite to the Post Office in order to purposely put it out of business so its business could be sold off to private interests. At its best the USPS was the premiere mail service in the world.

The next example we have is Iowa’s legislature trying to give our tax money to private schools that claim they are better at education than the public school system. There is no comprehensive study showing that. Before Republican legislatures got into the yearly exercise of shorting Iowa’s public school funding, Iowa’s public schools were the best in the world. Now that the legislature has slowly dismantled the public school system in Iowa, they have an answer.

As you could expect, that answer involves private schools. In the case of schools, the schools are often not only private but also religious. Therefore the money that will be taken from public schools will possible go to a religious entity which should violate the first amendment of the constitution.

Use the money that will now be used to dismantle the public schools to fix the public schools. This would help the general public much more than a lucky few. If folks want to send their kids to a private school they can find a way to raise private money for scholarships.

Finally the mess in Texas shows just how bad the public can be hurt by the distrust of using public ownership of utilities and putting those utilities into private hands. Instead of having profits plowed back into the utilities to prepare for future, doing maintenance and adding improvements. Instead profits went into dividends giving the few owners big rewards. Now the public is suffering.

There are good sound reasons why we have common ownership of certain necessary utilities and services. In some areas, such as medicine there are both public and private sectors and in the endeavors less necessary for the functioning of society private ownership is common. In this area I think of things like entertainment.

When Republicans praise the glories of business the stories we get are often incomplete and the data enhanced by favorable conditions. Do private schools serve a full spectrum of students from the genius to the very slow? Are classes way over the recommended size? Have students in any way been selected in or selected out? 

The mission of schools is to raise full citizens. The mission of the public mail system is to provide service to all corners of the country come hell or high water. The mission of utilities is to have said utilities functional at the times when they are needed most. In all the cases mentioned above privatized versions of these necessary services have failed.

This is not the 330 million individual people of the US. This is the United States where we set up systems to work for all, not the privileged few. It is time for voters to look for politicians who promise what works best for the whole, not for a few individuals. This is the underlying philosophy of this country.

The days of electing people who say “government doesn’t work” and then proceed to break the government to prove themselves right should be relegated to a century back in the 1920s when we first learned it was a bad philosophy that didn’t make sense for society. 

About Dave Bradley

retired in West Liberty
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