Costs incurred in reducing or eliminating services provided by the government depend largely on the functional level of the government. In the US, there are three government levels, the federal government, state government, and local government. Costs also depend on the type of services given, these can be defensive, entitlement, and educational.
They also depend on time; there are times that they can be reduced or totally eliminated, time here means, times of war and times of peace; cost tend to be high in times of war and lower when there is peace (Henderson 71).
The Social Costs
When reading about Huffington’s debate “Guns vs. Butter” 2010, one gets the impression that reducing costs on defensive services when there is a prevailing period of calmness and peace, and then this will greatly favor the interests of the country. If this happens, then there will be little social costs incurred.
From this debate, it is clear that the social costs realized when trying to reduce defense services have little or no effect on the country. This is elaborated by Henderson’s data. This data proposes that if the nation actively seeks diplomacy in an effort to prevent any war, then it will have a better chance of providing butter to its people (Huffington 1).
Reducing or completely doing away with entitlement programs such as social security as highlighted in the production of “butter” will see the country face immediate social costs. This is shown by Carl when he explains about the social class in the US. He indicates that a bigger proportion of the US population will at some point, need assistance from the government.
This implies that eliminating social security services will increase the country’s social costs. This means that marginalized groups, which include, the poor, the disabled, and the elderly, will be required to find alternative means of earning a living. The minorities, those in the lower social class and surviving on meager incomes will feel the greatest impact (Huffington 1).
When you consider education, a socialized service in the US where it is compulsory for kids in grades K-12, its reduction or elimination will bring about significant social costs. At present, many parents rely on the socialized education system to provide their kids with the basic education.
This means that most of them do not depend on the private learning institutions for K-12 education. One can easily predict what would happen in case K-12 education was eliminated. Such a move will force parents to look for private education for their kids. This is not an education system that they are used to; this system will produce a totally different generation of young people with no basic educational skills.
Absence of basic skills will mean that this group of Americans will miss out on the opportunities for living decent lives. Such a situation will relegate America to the social class of third world countries. This also means that current students would not be in college now, neither would their professors be teaching them now if the education system is eliminated (Huffington 1).
What the government does, not how many people do it
People have argued that the most important issue about the big government is what it does rather than the number of people doing it. This can elicit different views and feelings from different people depending on how their respective governments serve them. However, according to me, I feel that only asking about “what the government does, not how many people do it” can not tackle the many issues that people have to contend with in their respective countries.
But because this question is about American, one can understand where it is coming from. Such an argument is made because the United States has a two party political system. It therefore, follows that statement also has two sides to address the political structure in this nation. The two parties in the US, the democrats and the republicans, have their respective answers to this statement. This means that they only give two answers to this statement. But as you and I know, an argument usually has more than just two sides to it.
Currently, health care is the most debated issue in the United States. This is the best example of what the American government can give its citizens as a service. If a national health care system is put in place, then there will develop a vacuum in positions that have a relationship with health care. However, at this time there is no threat because this system is not yet in place. However, if by any chance this system is implemented, then a way of filling the above mentioned positions will have to be sought by any means.
This move will compromise the existing health care institutions both public and private in terms of increasing their workforce. In a way, the created positions will help in reducing the unemployment rate that currently stands just above ten percent in the United States. Of course this can only happen if the government takes an initiative of filling these positions (Torrey 1).
During President Bush’s reign, telephone conversations were wiretapped by NSA; this is what the government does. NSA needs employees for the government to carry out its duties. It is therefore, clear that both what the government does and the number of those doing it are important.
Therefore, dealing with what the government does alone will be belittling the powers of the government because the government is structured into programs, tasks, order, all of which should be addressed. Such as statement will therefore, not conclusively answer all the issues that the government deals with.
Basing on the above suggestion, then one can comfortably ask what the government does, and not how many people do it? Many questions can then arise. For instance, in doing so, is the government in any way helping its people? The answer to this will address what the government does.
One can also look at how health care is provided to the American people. Here, one will look at how many people are providing these services. Looking at these two positions, one can then know if the argument given by either side is good or bad. But, according to my understanding, I think that both statements are valid. One should look at what the government does and the number of people doing it. This question should also address how the people are affected at all times, be it during war or in peace.
Henderson, Anthony. Democracy and war: the end of an illusion? New York: Lynne Rienner Publishers, 2002. Print.
Huffington, Arianna. Guns vs. Butter. HuffingtonPost, 2010. Web. April 7, 2011.
Torrey, Trish. Understanding Healthcare Reform. Patients, 2010. Web. April 7, 2011.