To the editor,
Isn’t it time for a Government Workers Appreciation Day?
We often are dismayed by what’s wrong with government: inefficiency, high costs, big deficits, pressure on our taxes. But we sometimes phrase that as “them against us,” government taking money out of our pockets for their multifarious purposes. But government is, in the end, us, not someone else. We use government to do for us what we cannot individually do for ourselves: plow the snow off the roads, police the city so there are no break-ins, rescue those hurt in accidents, put out fires, bring children hurt sledding to hospitals and care for them, monitor safety of what we eat, try criminals and punish them if they’re guilty, release them if innocent, and on and on. If any of these things were to be done privately, of course we’d expect to pay for them; how can we expect government to provide them if we don’t pay for them? So we pay taxes, and we should pay taxes, for all the services we get.
And government employees are not all lazy, greedy animals feeding off the public trough. They’re overwhelmingly our neighbors, working hard, often in the cold and through the night, doing difficult and often dangerous work often giving up the possibility of much higher paying jobs in the interests of serving the public, us. They deserve our thanks, not our opprobrium. They shouldn’t be made the scapegoats for the public deficits we face because we understandably resist the necessity of raising taxes. Compared to the bankers who draw down millions of dollars in salaries and bonuses for taking our money on deposit and lending it to others at good interests rates and speculating with what they have, keeping all the profit for their own personal enrichment. Compared to them – those a the top, not the typical bank teller – public employees are saints.
Wouldn’t it be appropriate, after the major effort dedicated to the recent snow emergency, to say thank you to the workers that helped us overcome it and the government for which they worked, our government – and shouldn’t we expect to pay, fairly (more by those that can afford it, less by those who can’t), for what is done by them and it on our behalf?
P.S. Maybe both the populist tea party supporters and the old-fashioned liberals could agree on such a day?