San Francisco, California

Where the GOP’s Tax Extremism Comes From

Andrew Winston writing for Ev’s blog:

…consider the way so many Americans talk about government, like it’s some external group. It’s bizarre. We are government — it’s our shared responsibility. Our neighbors, friends, family, and ourselves work in the government keeping our complicated society going. Dismissing them all as “bureaucrats” is insulting and wildly inaccurate. Exact numbers for government employment are not easy to assemble. But, we know there are 3.2 million elementary and secondary school teachers, well over a million people in law enforcement and fire departments, 2 million citizens in the active and reserve military, and on and on. In short, tens of millions of people work in government in some way. Those think tanks that hate all government express shock at these numbers.

But why are they shocked? Take a good look around at how much of our society is shared — our physical infrastructure, our modern communications infrastructure, our public safety and health services, our protection of clean air and water and a stable climate, our system to ensure safe food and drugs, our educational system for pre-K through college, and so much more. It takes a lot of people and investment to look this good (or even not so good at times).

Then consider that we also provide shared resources for the entire country, no matter how remote. For example, the stimulus package of 2009, which fiscal conservatives hated, allocated billions to bring broadband to rural areas (those places that generally dislike big government). Investments like these build a fair, thriving society…and I think it’s worth it.