By the People, for the People
By Terri Robbins
March 18, 2018
Our country has grown, both in population and in diversity. Our government, too, has grown to address the complex and serious challenges facing and motivating our citizens. Our state governments and the federal government must, of necessity, share certain aspects of governance, including the ultimate responsibility-the well-being of our citizens, thereby honoring the ideal of a “government for the people.“
The voices of some alarmed by government deficits shout the refrain, “cut, cut, cut!“ But, but, but, many of those same voices sink to mutters of discontent and complaint when a needed service is unavailable. Cries for reducing government spending ring out, without indications as to where exactly those reductions should fall or with suggestions that reflect a “not in my backyard” mentality. The needs of distant neighbors are judged less valid because they are not universal.
In Alaska, we all benefit from government services. Some of the things provided are unique, due to the nature of our demographics, geography, and climate. It is true that the level of services are sometimes disproportionate to the population of an area or region. One must remember, however, that fair does not mean everyone gets the same. Fair means everyone gets what they need.
People speak of government as if it is separate from themselves-a Godzilla monster run rampant and beyond individual influence or responsibility. This is a delusion, fed by periods of passive and unquestioning acceptance of benefits and privileges. For years, Alaskans have enjoyed a government that paid for itself without levying taxes. And now we are unable to continue. It is time to accept that we ARE the government and we must sustain and support our own existence-not with extravagance but with a commitment to ensure that no person or community suffers from oppressive funding cuts.
No ones wants to pay taxes but we must accept financial responsibility for our own well-being. We must, like residents of every other state, pay some kind of tax. The only fair and reasonable, sustainable and responsible, solution is the institution of a broad-based progressive tax. It need not be an unbearable drain on our personal finances. It should not make life harder for those who struggle the most and it should not gratuitously favor those who are wealthy. But, it should, it must, support adequate, appropriate government services.We must remember and adhere to the founding principles of our nation...a government by the people and for the people.
About: I am an Alaskan, born and bred, and a proud member of the Democratic Party.
Received March 15, 2018 - Published March 18, 2018
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