Letters and Opinion

Marcus misses the point

September 12, 2009

In his Aug. 31 column, Morton Marcus dared to paint those who question the role of government on certain issues as misinformed, narrow-minded and in constant need of reminding of their “obligations.” How arrogant!

Marcus contends that we should embrace the cap-and-trade legislation because of the global interest in reducing pollution. He says that anyone who questions this legislation is narrow-minded. I submit that it is indeed our responsibility to balance global interests against our country’s economic growth. Absolutely we can sharply limit pollution but, in doing so, there is risk that the United States disadvantages itself economically against other countries who will not embrace the same standards.

Marcus further argues that we must all accept the proposition that health care and education should be publicly financed since having our citizens educated and healthy has an indirect public benefit. As caring human beings we recognize our moral obligations to help others in need, not because we receive an indirect public benefit but questioning whether public financing is the answer is not akin to misunderstanding our obligations. We all know too well the numerous examples where government assumes the cost of something only to see that cost grow unchecked and beyond the cost of similar services provided by private or not-for-profit entities. Government is not the answer to every problem we have in America and that is the message I received from Marcus’ column.

Indeed, that seems to be the direction we are headed, where almost everything is deemed a public obligation—beyond health care and education to now include such items as cell phones, television, new cars and now new appliances. Where does it end?

I contend that it is irresponsible not to have healthy debate over these issues. As the role of government continues to escalate, many view that as a dangerous infringement on our personal freedoms. Insulting people who dare to question government is neither productive nor democratic.

Derek B. Roesener

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