Government Can Do Everything (Except What It Should)!

One thing that isn't clear to me is why progressives are eager to have the government assume more responsibility for our lives. We should increase Social Security payments by 20%, but we can't pay to fix the roads. We should make states take on new health care exchange bureaucracies, but they can't afford to test prisoners for STDs before releasing them into the prison's general population. I thought prevention was supposed to be cheaper than treatment, but apparently we've decided to subject our prisoners not only to rape but to resulting serious illness. (Influential nongovernmental organizations are somewhat out to sea on this issue as well. Human Rights Watch has done good work in pressuring the government to address prison rape, but for some reason is celebrating a ruling that it is wrongful to quarantine -- they use the word "segregate" -- people with HIV from the rest of the prison population.)

In addition to being broke, which is a practical objection to increasing the size and scope of government, there are reasons to question the competence of the government to execute its basic functions. Foreign policy and budgetary policy are the two most obvious. We have F-16s to sell to the Egyptian government now that they are no longer an ally, but not to Taiwan, which really is one. We can't pass a budget, and hearings suggest the President is not leading even times of national emergency.

I would like to see basic competence from the government at its existing tasks before we talk about expanding its reach.

UPDATE: By the way, haven't you noticed lately that your groceries aren't nearly expensive enough? The government is here to help!

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