Much of our government “over-spending” is related to misguided attempts to provide non-government responsibility family services. Having served on various health, education, and social services committees and councils over many years, I am keenly aware some Alaskans will wonder why I waste time with such an elementary and obvious point.
- Most are too busy just living and being their own family to take this walk down “policy lane”.
- Others will react with scorn, or be indignant on behalf of noble state employees – maybe themselves included.
- Others will just shrug this off as naive, uneducated, or old fashioned …
- Still others will assume I mean to exclude anyone outside of a traditional family, so this doesn’t apply to them. However, this can work for any “family” group – it’s a matter of not depending on government to support us, when in fact family services weren’t the purpose of our American or State government.
Ironically, the supposed generous government charity actually destroys incentive for parents and extended family to self-sacrificially raise children! Why strive hard when government routinely supplies a cornucopia of day care, education, senior care, health care, housing, foster care, and even incidentals like transportation, groceries, counseling, etc.? By insisting on union rules, benefits and equity in services for everyone, basically, elimination of all risk to providers and clients, we essentially drive up the cost to be unsustainable. Government cannot provide the compassion, self-sacrifice, discipline, and authority born from human empathy to care for those we love.
Government social workers, educators, and government contractors do not go to bed at night plotting against the family! Most of them sleep very well knowing they are doing the work they have been assigned with integrity! Further, many deserve something similar to the medals of honor we bestow on our military heroes.
So, why, when provided government services are measured are the results most often abysmal? Because it takes “loving” each other to complete the job best. (The Webster’s 18thcentury definition of “charity” is clearer). A government system of sterile policy; executed by humans; driven by politicized budgets, and attempting to follow all executive branch rules, cannot compete with family. Lack of “charity” allows systemic “mission drift”, even when the original intent is honorable. The drift is toward supplying the needs of the providers over those of the clients.
As citizens, we would do well to review and tirelessly promote the value of the traditional family and firmly direct/select legislators who share them. Optimally, marriage is a contractual relationship between a male and a female to partner in a relationship responsibility to raise children and care for each other’s aging parents. It is not fundamentally about sex, religion, security, or politics, but, thankfully, these things are elements of a happy family applying valid standards. Anybody who is grafted into a well-functioning family – whether or not they are related by blood; needy friends who get “adopted”, regardless of age or “position” held – will easily affirm the value of family. It is common sense and easily seen by anyone who honestly evaluates their personal assets. Not everybody is equally fortunate to be part of a family, but in a healthy family there always seems to be room for one more. This “magic love” simply eludes government application. We need to incrementally reduce wasted attempts to try. Our culture will continue in a sad decline until family becomes the gold standard over government programs.
Overspending is particularly hard to avoid in Alaska where “taxes” were constitutionally pre-paid with a generous 80% of return on sales of our natural resources, providing no shortage of cash in the “state checkbook”. The bitter consequence is a state government that costs more per capita than any other state. The cost of education and social services has increased to be more than 2/3 of our budget and we have unwittingly created many children, elders, and poor who have become critically dependent on generous state spending. We clearly need to make incremental and careful reductions to mitigate the pending suffering due to revenue reduction.
Everybody loses when a culture depends more on an impersonal, secular government than it does on family! It is ironic when government attempts are proven to be counter-productive. One of the most subtle, persistent appeals for money you hear in Juneau is that government programs must exist because of family decline. On a personal level, it is better for each individual to strive to be the best Dad, Mom, Grandparent, Aunt, Uncle, Son, Daughter, and friend we can be! This investment return is huge!
This was also submitted as an article to The People’s Paper.