End-game for citizens and government: local, state, and federal
Good Life for All
I wrote an article for Politisite.com called “A Good Life For All.” (See link: http://politisite.com/2011/10/23/a-good-life-for-all/ ) In it, I wanted to establish that individuals in America are assured their right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness that I sum up as a good life. Defining the “good life,” depends upon a number of variables:
- Your personal starting position – you are born with certain inalienable rights, but not with equal footing as to the wealth and station of your parents. Some people have more or less of start than you do.
- Where you live – a person living in a small town rural community may have different personal standards and expectations about what the “good life” means to them. However, because nearly everyone has some access to knowledge about how other people live, expectations about one’s relative position has context. People aren't going to be satisfied have a whole lot less than someone else of equal ability.
- Personal aptitude -- that is a constraint though not necessarily a handicap or disability. There are ways to optimize one’s personal abilities through hard work, study, and with some help from mentors.
What is the baseline for a good life in the United States today? What are the minimum things for which individuals should be able to count on as a foundation for obtaining employment and advancing through personal development at will? What should they expect at the conclusion of having worked hard throughout their lifecycle?
What is it the government does at each level to ensure an individual’s good life?
Beginning with the County, Community, City, or Village in which you live, what do you expect from government?
- Police protection
- Fire protection
- Emergency management
- Clean air and water
- Waste management
- Public schools
- Safe roadways
- Snow removal
- Affordable power
- Employment opportunity
- Economic development
- Public and Private health facilities
- Affordable care
- Quality care
- Public and private
- Legal services public and private
- Government expense (Of course you expect to pay for it in taxes.)
So with everything you need and want for a good life, there is the question, how much?
Can you live a good life in your neighborhood, so to speak, without worrying about what goes on elsewhere? Some of my relatives in North Central Ohio, a farm community, can tell you they are living as well today as any of their ancestors and are self-sufficient to some extent. However, there are pressures on their lifestyles from increasing costs for local infrastructure. There are pressures from the local manufacturing plant closing that drove the only department store out of business. With declining population, the burden of paying for roads and road repairs, snow removal, and all sorts of incidentals is increasing for individuals.
Then, there is the same consideration as one move to the state level of government.
Individuals need and want representation at every level of government. There are rules for state governance that includes an assembly similar to the U. S. Congress with State Senators and Representatives. There are governors in all of the states though their terms vary in duration.
Then, individuals must consider how they are represented in the federal government with Senators and Representatives, and finally the President.
Even at the highest level, voters must make the same considerations about government services and government departments and agencies providing them. What is the standard for a good life for all when it comes to the federal government?
You see, it isn’t up to someone else to decide. It isn’t an accident. It is up to you to help provide requirements and guidance to your elected officials.
Now, the nation has large and complex demands as America is positioned in the world. We have been projecting our power as a nation for a long time now, and other nations jockey and push back. Some are friendly competitors and some are warring enemies.
We have accrued debt. We have continuing and increasing demands. We have needs to consider that are developing in the future. All of this requires careful planning, strategizing, and financing.
So, today, our situation is that our “good-life” demands are exceeding our economic capacity to keep pace, in part due to our government spending too much on discretionary things and in part because we have a demographic shift with a larger number of people in senior age levels. The nation has sufficient resources to address the needs and problems, though much greater knowledge, skill, and experience is needed at every level of government to improve our nation’s ability to sustain competitive superiority in an increasingly competitive world.