Give 'em the Patriot to read

Dear Editor:Three weeks ago I wrote about the proper role of government by highlighting the virtues of limited government under the law. However, one or two examples would serve well in cementing the idea that we should not look to government to act as a positive force by providing things for people but only as a negative force by restricting evil and safeguarding our unalienable rights. These two examples can be found in two opinion pieces that you ran in the Editorial page, one last week by Bill Schneider of Montana ("Proposed Bill Ensures No Child Left Behind," 7/24/09), and the other almost two months ago by Caroline Abels of Vermont ("Amtrak: You Can't Get There From Here," 6/5/09). They both start by making excellent observations, but then jump to the wrong conclusions. In her article Ms. Abels bemoaned the fact that she could not take the train to go down to Florida on vacation, citing Amtrak's lack of routes and poor connections. The timing of your publishing her article could not have been more ironic since that same week General Motors filed for bankruptcy, with the federal government in tow ready to bail them out. You say, where's the connection? In 1970 the Federal government "stepped in" to save passenger rail service from bankruptcy by promising to "step out" in three years max once Amtrak got to be on its own feet again. Today, 40 years and billions of dollars later, the government not only still runs Amtrak but makes it illegal for anyone else to compete with Amtrak. The result is that Amtrak is operating at a loss every time someone uses passenger rail as a form of transportation and Ms. Abels correctly complains that it does not take her where she wants to travel. Her conclusion? Lobby Congress for even more of our tax dollars for Amtrak. If this isn't an excellent example of where government acts as a positive force by doing things for people, such as providing subsidized transportation for them, I don't know what is. Just imagine now what they can do with GM and the rest of our once formidable auto industry, having just taken a majority stake in running GM and subsidizing rebates and dictating Detroit how to engineer cars. Moving on to Mr. Schneider's opinion piece in which he wants us to join in lobbying Congress for passing H.R. 2054, "No Child Left Inside Act of 2009", he likewise makes a good observation, namely, that many of our youth spend too much time indoors in front of the TV, DVD or computer and not enough time in the outdoors, fishing, camping, hiking and so on. However his conclusion that somehow the federal government should spend $500 million to get the children out of the indoors is plain wrong. It is also another perfect example of where government sees itself as a positive force by helping families and local communities provide outdoor activities for children. Besides, haven't we learned that any law that starts with the words "No Child Left…", doesn't work since it uses a "one size fits all" Washington approach? The result of government subsidies in any industry or type of activity, even children's outdoor activities, is to increase the cost of goods or services that industry provides and thus diminishes the availability to consumers of such goods and services. That would be the opposite of what Mr. Schneider is seeking. He also makes the observation that billions of dollars have already been given to Wall Street banks, so what's another $500 million further into the hole? However, even our children in Downey being taught the Character Counts program know that if something is wrong you don't go further in that direction simply because now "it's only a drop in the bucket". You stop, turn around and do what is right. Which is why the real bill to support on Capitol Hill is H.R. 1207 and S. 604, which would audit the elitist and unaccountable Federal Reserve Bank. Today this bill has 277 sponsors in the House and 19 in the Senate! In closing, there is no question that Mr. Schneider of Montana had a beautiful childhood away from the TV and video games and that Ms. Abels of Vermont is a talented journalist who can write about the times in which we live, but I am afraid that both of them missed their Economics 101 class. Perhaps they should be the ones reading up the Downey Patriot Editorial page regularly, instead of us reading their columns. Let's be proud of our local talent and the wonderful people Downey has to offer and listen to one another as we go through difficult days in our nation's history. Yes, give' em the Patriot to read! - Dan Cristea Downey

********** Published: July 31, 2009 - Volume 8 - Issue 15