The Role of Government


The raging debate, I guess there are several, but the overarching debate is about government; how much? how big? conservative or progressive? This is not a new debate, it goes all the way back to the founding fathers (maybe the mothers, too, in private when the "fathers" got home from work). Let's see if we can agree that government is an absolute necessity.

Let's say you start up your own mom and pop company, make your kick-ass hot sauce that everyone loves. It's you, your spouse, your two kids, when you can corral them, and your brother-in-law, John, a full-time accountant who agrees to deliver the product to your customers; oh, he also has a degree in economics, so he's the company bookkeeper. You have three and 1/2 employees (the kids are the one half because they keep ducking out). No one is getting paid to start until you find out what's what.

You begin producing about 30 jars a week based on demand. As the word gets out and folks like your product, the demand goes up to 100 jars a week. That's a stretch for you, your honey, your MIA kids, and John. You and John have figured out that your material costs per jar of sauce are around 25 cents, and the jars are selling for $5.99. Of course, no one is getting paid at this point. At 30 jars a week, your gross is $179.70. It takes an estimated time from pulling the ingredients together, to cooking and jarring the sauce of about twenty minutes.

When the demand hits 100 jars a week, your gross is now $599.00 with a net of about $574 ($5.99 per jar minus .25 in materials). We still aren't considering wages or delivery costs, but John is starting to look worried. He has a full time job as an accountant and he's paying for the gas to deliver the sauce.

Then a local TV station gets wind of what you're doing and ask to do a spot for the local news. Sounds great; it will probably give the business a boost. They do the show and demand jumps to 1,000 jars a week and several local markets called and would like to put a dozen or so jars on their shelves to see how they move. A couple of them are large chains that, if successful, will pitch it to corporate to put them in stores nationwide.

Wow, this is a whole new dynamic. You need to think about finding a commercial space to produce the product, hire workers, develop a distribution plan, hire a trucking company, maybe a couple of sales people, deal with all the licenses and local and state labor laws. You might need a lawyer on retainer. Suddenly your kitchen business has exploded to where you need an organization chart, company rules and regulations, legal support, accountants, safety experts, the list of operations and demands is a long one. You just had to set up a way to govern your little business which is rapidly becoming a big business.

I think you get the idea. When our nation began, in 1732, the 13 colonies were complete. As the colonies were established throughout the 17th and 18th centuries, the population grew immensely, starting at just 2,000 people and growing to over 2 million. Today, it's fifty states and a tad over 330,000,000 people, and we are intricately meshed with the rest of the world in trade and a plethora of other dealings.

From a family of five to a nation of 330 million, there must be an organization of sorts with people in charge, rules of conduct, and even a policing and justice activity if someone misbehaves. That is a fact of life unless you decide to go off in the forest by yourself and be a hermit.

We should not be debating if we need government, we should be in the process of continually improving the way we govern and do business with the rest of the world. Our Constitution was not perfect after it was signed, thus all the amendments. We made a great start and as the world around us has changed, we've had to adjust to those changes. Calls for returning to some past utopia are bullshit; we have to deal with the world we live in today, not the one our founders were living in.

The Republicans want to either stop progress, or go backward. The Democrats are called progressive because they see and accept the changes and are trying to envision the future so that we can govern for the future, not return to the 19th century.