Not true that government produces ‘no products’

Syndicated columnist, libertarian and senior judicial analyst for Fox News Andrew Napolitano, opining what he claimed is a $1 million-per-minute buildup of the country’s debt, said in a column published Feb. 23 in The Maui News, “Government produces no products that consumers are willing to pay for voluntarily.”

While I agree with him concerning the unsustainability of the ongoing, unfettered borrowing that is plunging our country further into trillions of dollars in debt, it is not true that government produces “no products.” Here’s a partial list of government “products” paid for by our taxes: Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, Deptartments of Defense and Homeland Security, education, unemployment insurance, veterans benefits, food stamps, low-income housing assistance, programs for abused and neglected children, scientific and medical research, transportation and infrastructure.

How tax money is prioritized and spent most assuredly needs debate, as does whether to lower or raise taxes on the uber-wealthy or cut services and safety nets, aka “products.” But to suggest that we get nothing back from the federal, or for that matter state, government in exchange for the taxes we pay is incorrect.

And as to the claim that we “consumers” are not willing to pay for those “products” voluntarily is also not correct — at least sweeping us all into that category is incorrect. I’m willing to pay for them voluntarily.

I benefit from them directly, personally myself, as well as indirectly when they help my fellow citizens live better, smarter, healthier and safer lives. We all benefit then.

Mary Lawrence