Government and Expectations

Charlie is a card-carrying Tea Party member. He passionately believes government doesn’t work. Unfortunately, Charlie takes a lot for granted.

When Charlie’s clock radio wakes him in the morning, the publicly regulated power plant came through again without any blackouts or brownouts. The Federal Communications Commission made certain no renegade company took over the frequency of Charlie’s regular radio station during the night. Consequently, he gets to hear his preferred weather person deliver the National Weather Service forecast.

Using the bathroom and taking a shower are next on his morning routine. Everything flushes and flows because of the city water utility staff. City employees collected Charlie’s garbage while he was in the shower.

Breakfast is Charlie’s favorite meal and next on the agenda. He doesn’t pay any attention to the USDA inspection sticker on the bacon packaging or waste any time worrying about food poisoning or contamination. Federal and state food inspections contributing to an all time high American life expectancy really aren’t on his radar.

While Charlie’s kids head out the door to their public school, he takes his prescribed blood pressure and asthma medicines. Much of the basic research leading to their development was government financed. The Food and Drug Administration spent years making sure there were no adverse interactions between the drugs while testing their safety and effectiveness.

Charlie gets into his car and drives to work on taxpayer-funded roadways. Charlie’s Third World competitors hire bodyguards to protect themselves from kidnappers. That thought never passes through his head. What does pass him is another driver going through a red light. Charlie shutters at how close he came to being in a crash.

If there had been an accident, within minutes, highly trained, publicly employed Emergency Medical Technicians would have transported him to the nearest Emergency Hospital. Charlie does get some satisfaction seeing the errant driver pulled over by the local government employed police officer. The taxpayer-funded justice system will collect a hefty traffic fine.

When Charlie safely gets to work, the first thing he does is log onto the Internet. He doesn’t really care that his work world revolves around a communication tool developed by the Defense Department. He later phones one of his best salespeople flying out of a publicly built and subsidized airport where taxpayer paid air traffic controllers manage traffic. Charlie’s call went through because the Federal Communication Commission’s staff kept an overpowered bar code reader off the market before it interfered with cell phone networks.

Sometimes we need to cheer about all our government does right.
Sometimes we need to cheer about all our government does right.

Charlie has a very good morning and his publicly educated domestic sales group sells several truckloads of product across the country. After doing credit checks on his customers, he knows he will collect because of the Rule of Law in the United States. Charlie has the deposits made directly into the local FDIC insured bank. He doesn’t even think about a safer place for his money.

Barring weather or earthquakes, the shipments will arrive on time via the publicly financed Interstate Highway System. While highway bandits and Third World style traffic gridlock are problems Charlie’s international competitors deal with and calculate into their pricing, Charlie never gives a thought to anything like that.

Late in the afternoon, Charlie gets a call from his Mexican distributor. Edwardo is one of the brightest and most successful independent distributors Charlie has. Edwardo saw an entry-level job opening at the U.S. headquarters and wants Charlie to get him the job and a U.S. work Visa.

Charlie can’t understand. Mexico has the lowest tax rates in the world.  Why would someone making as much money and paying as little taxes as Edwardo possibly want to come to the U.S. and take a mega pay cut and pay sales taxes, property taxes, payroll taxes and income taxes?

Maybe it is the kidnappings of wealthy people in Mexico, the highway robbers, the traffic gridlock or maybe it is our public education system, our clean water, our stable electrical system or maybe Edwardo wants to become part of the world’s most productive labor force?  Most likely, it is all the above and Edwardo’s knowledge that the United States offers more opportunity than anywhere else in the world for a creative, hard-working person.

As work is closing down, Charlie check’s Fox News’s website. There are bad people in the world and some of these bad people control countries hostile to the United States. Yet, there were no attacks on the U.S. or on Charlie’s international salespeople. All are safe in no small part because of the professionalism of our Homeland Security, armed forces and intelligence networks.


After work, Charlie gets together with a few of his Tea Party friends and commiserated about how government is completely non-functional and only people on welfare get anything from all the taxes they pay. Their solution is more “personal responsibility”.  Charlie and his friends should be careful about what they wish for.

While Charlie’s friends work to cut back Medicare and Medicaid, they should be very accommodating to their spouses and children. The odds are very high that the Tea Partiers will get old and fairly high they will need individualized care before they die. According to the 2004 National Nursing Home Survey, the average length of time since admission for residents was 835 days. Wisconsin’s 2012 state median annual care cost is $83,585 for a semi-private room.


Charlie and his friends are clueless about government’s impact on their health, safety and quality of life. Unfortunately, they only notice when something goes wrong.

You will find many ideas on this website suggesting ways for improving government. Yet, Frugal Ron recognizes most government employees are doing good work day in and day out. We are safe, healthy and have lifestyles that are the envy of anyone in the world. Much of that is due to the effective government many of us take for granted.

Rather than dismantling government, the key is smarter government. This means focused retooling in some areas and perhaps expansion in other areas where free enterprise needs help. While acknowledging government is not the solution to all problems, we must recognize government is not the cause of all our problems. 2012

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