Government has critical role in complex economy

October 23, 2011

I wonder how commentary like Dan Reed's recent op-ed on job creation ("Government's main job: staying out of the way," Oct. 20) can get so much attention. While the title has merit, the writer makes an anti-government case with empty assertions. The principal argument appears to be founded on a dictionary definition of "job." If only life were so simple.

Contrary to oversimplified views of economics, the government plays a critical role in our economy. Perhaps many have heard of the Internet, or maybe the integrated circuit, or the interstate highway system. With a little time on the Internet, you can even see that government investment is responsible for "entire industries" and resources critical to commerce.

Some industries are derivatives of the core economy. As an economy grows stronger, the more diverse and loosely contributing services prosper. For example, without a strong consumer component to an economy, industries such as advertising find rough going.

Providing short-term stimulus to the economy is not simply a humanitarian gesture. Contrary to popular opinion, the government does have plans for maintaining and growing infrastructure, investing in educating the workforce, and other investments that are designed to grow the economy in the long-term. Investing in these projects on an accelerated schedule can also help bridge consumer spending gaps.

Helping feed a hungry family also has merit.

Empty rhetoric is not what we need right now. What we need is responsible government. That means a group of elected officials who will do their job and run the government effectively. Developing clear strategies for the economy, defense, health care, and other services, eliminating waste, and prioritizing what we need is important. Wasting time discussing how to dismantle the government is a danger to us all.

Greg Boss, Ellicott City

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