What role for government?

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steven lloyd
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Re: What role for government?

Post by steven lloyd »

Urbane wrote:As the role of government has expanded so has the level of disappointment with government. In this excerpt Robert Samuelson is talking about the United States but his comments apply to Canada as well:

And at the end of Samuelson’s article ...

We come full circle to Volcker. What he's creating is an institute that will focus on the "nuts and bolts" of implementing policies effectively: for example, having better-trained bank examiners. Although this cannot hurt, it's not the essence of our problem, which is being more rigorous about defining what government can and should do.

Read more: http://www.realclearpolitics.com/articl ... z2VHbJwMXr

... we once again come full circle again in this discussion. That is, we have recognition and agreement that government is trying to do too much, is stretched too thin, and that it’s solution to addressing the increasing challenges faced is to create more committees, a larger bureuacracy (eg. more Ministries, aka BC Liberal strategy) and incur more debt. I understand that it is not in the power of any of us here individually, but I would be curious to know what or where individual posters believe government should limit it’s role. What functions should we keep under the role of government? What functions should we eliminate from the role of government? What about excessive Olympic funding, for example? And, for the sake of discussion, how might we as individuals (or even small citizen groups) help to facilitate that change coming about?
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Re: What role for government?

Post by Homeownertoo »

I am not normally a great fan of Robert Samuelson, but he hit a home run with this column. And I think he sums it up perfectly with the following (particularly the final sentence):

"Democracies must have the capacity to take actions that, though unpopular and painful in the present, are desirable for the society's ultimate well-being. This defined the triumph of Volcker and Reagan in the 1980s. It's conspicuously missing today."

Or as O'Reilly said, we (he meant the American people) are the problem. They (we) do not support, at least in sufficient numbers, politicians who 1. Tell the politically unpalatable truths, and 2. Act on those truths. We want it all and we don't care what it will cost taxpayers many of whom are not yet born. Oddly, this extends to the GenXes and Millennials who I think see that the bills are going to come due on their watch but want keep the ship of state going full steam ahead into that iceberg. A strange disconnect. And one I find especially hard to fathom when I call at every opportunity for some sanity, even though there is virtually no chance the collision will impact even if it happens during my shrinking lifetime.

I do think Harper understands the economic issues and really does want to do the right things. And has done better than either of the alternatives would have done in his place. But while he has benefited from an opposition that largely self-destructed over the past decade (and the NDP appears to be squandering its electoral opportunities under Mulcair, thank God), he remains constrained by the larger political arena. For example, BC's opposition to the Northern Gateway pipeline and Obama's stalling on Keystone are both harmful to Canada's economic future, not to mention the always politically skeptical press that by and large would be much more comfortable with Liberals in power, and virulent opposition by the environmental wing(nuts). I do take some comfort in the recent BC election to see voters, or at least the 55% who bothered, rejected the lunacy of the left despite all the reasons not to put the Liberals back in power. But it's a slender reed upon which to build any optimism.
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Re: What role for government?

Post by Smurf »

As you mentioned Steven, I am one of the ones who would love to get involved in this but it has taken me 2 days to read through it and start this knowing we will be on the road again right away and I will probably not be able to continue to well. Too many exciting things to do besides sit on a computer in this beautiful weather.

I don't even know where to start other than to say I believe I am pretty close to Steven on this one. I would like to throw in a new twist, party politics. As long as we have people, voters, with different views we will have parties who try and take advantage of those views. I cannot say whose views are right or wrong because that is only my opinion, even if I have scads of information to prove it. I am right and you are wrong, an idiot, a fool, mindless or whatever. As long as we have polar opposite parties (which we really don't anymore) we will have flipping from one extreme to the other. When these parties force their members to vote as they are told and not as they believe they totally destroy any real ability for the people we elect to truly govern as we want them to. It seems all they are doing is pushing their style of government as opposed to the other guys in an attempt to attract the most voters and keep their cushy job.

I believe that these party politics are keeping them from doping their jobs properly. They are not truly interested in doing the right thing. They are just using their power, majority, to push their style of politics with no thought as to whether it is right or not because it is right in the mind(s) of those who are controlling the party, whether or not they are even elected. One party starts new portfolio (like Christy's “natural gas ministry”) and the other gets in power, shuts it down because it wasn't their idea and starts their own and on it goes. Someone goes crazy as Steven has said and just cuts without truly knowing what they are cutting and what the results will be and we are as bad off or worse than we were. Till we get away from these party competitions and following of party lines we will never get real government. As long as we have these lines drawn in the sand we will never truly be able to define the roll of government, what is necessary and what is not. When one government like say Harper and the Cons get tough people will sooner or later vote for a change and everything will be reversed again. This has just been proven in the US where the people have voted Obama in twice on the basis of his promises to give them everything they want.

I do not have a solution for this theory other than minority governments where they are forced to work together and compromise. I do not believe we will ever be able to truly define the role of government until we get away from the strongly polarized parties.

Just my two cents.
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