Tag Archive: government

San Francisco’s business of government

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A road trip from Southern California to San Francisco blows up the conservative myth that “government is bad for business” from Mile 1. First, you’ll likely drive up Interstate 5. That’s one of the highways largely built with taxpayer funds as part of the Interstate Highway System. I-5 runs through California’s Central Valley, where a big portion of America’s fruits and vegetables are grown, and it’s not unusual to see agricultural trucks making up 50 percent or more of the road traffic. Those truckers, growers, store owners and consumers throughout the U.S. depend on I-5 and other federal and state highways to move commerce to market efficiently.

Obama Inauguration Day speech calls for good government

President Obama‘s inauguration speech for his second term called for an active, effective federal (as well as state and local) government that provides “security and dignity” for Americans. Among the things President Obama said that government should help do or be involved in are:

The Republicans’ Hurricane Sandy problem

Multistate disasters like Hurricane Sandy, which is currently battering the Northeast, present a big problem for the Republican Party and its anti-government ideology. Here’s why:

How About Saying “Elected Representatives” Instead of “Government”?

“In this present crisis, government is not the solution to our problem; government is the problem.”
President Ronald Reagan, inaugural address, Jan. 20, 1981

For over 30 years, Republicans and conservatives have tried to turn “government” into a dirty word. But maybe the term “government” is a bit of a straw man created by Republicans in the first place.

In common usage, to be “governed” generally means to be controlled or ordered around. That’s often a negative connotation. A “governor” on a car or motorbike engine limits the top speed. And how about that staple of literature and Masterpiece Theater episodes, the strict, bossy English “governess”? It hardly seems a coincidence that Republicans, from Reagan on down, have so frequently referred to “government” (especially the federal government, especially when Democrats control the Executive Branch) in a negative way.

But perhaps progressives are mistaken if they embrace or get hung up on the word “government” rather than its concept.┬áThe word “government” only appears in the U.S. Constitution a few times, so there’s no natural requirement to use it when referring to the protection and security that Democrats and progressives want as a check on individual, group, and corporate excess. Instead, the Constitution largely talks about our elected representatives, i.e., our U.S. House members, Senators, and President (and the various state constitutions likewise cover elected representatives at the state level) as the agents through which we get things done.