Friday, September 19, 2008

when government is needed

As a New York Times columnist notes this morning, the financial world has come to the decision that government is not the problem, but a part of the solution. Charlotte, North Carolina is a banking community, and since Monday morning (which began with a seven a.m. committee meeting) I have been in conversation with very intelligent, faithful and generous members of the community who are simply shaking their heads and commenting that the present financial situation is "a mess". I am also an early morning person, and my day usually begins by listening to the BBC, which broadcasts what is happening in the financial markets in Europe, and, even earlier in the day, in Asia. The U.S. is invariably shaped by these developments.

Late yesterday afternoon and early this morning there appears to be a more upbeat spirit, with the likelihood that the government is going to intervene. This is all to the good, and this seems to have broad and bi-partisan support. Locally, this also bodes well for the banking culture in which we live, for the livelihoods and retirements of many good people.

The bi-partisan support for governmental intervention in the present financial debacle has moved me to wonder about the possibility of such a posture in other crises: for example, the need for national health care, or giving access to higher education to the children of the working poor. My life has been enriched by access to public education, and my grandparents and great-grandmother lived in their later years through the resources of social security. I am opposed to the privatization of these programs (in the form of taxpayer support of homeschooling or private schools, or the privatization of social security).

Putting aside the political rhetoric, government is not always the problem. At times, and at the moment because an unchecked market has been infected with greed, only government can be the solution. Could individuals in both politicals make their way to seeing this as a model for two other matters(?): the deplorable state of health care in our country (due not to the gifts of medical practicioners, but rather to the market-driven captivity of medicine) and the growing divide between rich and poor, which manifests itself in the educational options (or lack of them).

I am hopeful that a new political regime will engage the masses of younger adults who are participating in this election cycle in seeing government not as the enemy but as a means of providing basic human services to all of the citizens of our country. Wall Street is surely at present a crisis in need of response; but other crises await our constructive response, and, as we learned after Hurricane Katrina, the faith-based community cannot and should not do it alone---the government is needed, and should intervene.


Blogger DogBlogger said...

Oh, preach it, Brother Ken.

7:46 AM  
Blogger Jeff said...

I think this is one the best essays I've read on this current situation. Thank you for sharing it.

8:15 AM  
Blogger MWT said...

Why don't you support tax breaks for homeschoolers? Homeschoolers are producing some of the best educated Christian kids in the country AND they typically pay property taxes to support local public schools. Is a tax break too much to ask?

7:55 AM  

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