Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Ronald Reagan's Favorite Joke

Reagan used to quip that 'the most terrifying words in the English language are: I'm from the government and I'm here to help.'

The funny thing is that government can indeed help people to help themselves, and that's a lesson worth remembering in tough economic times.

Look at the recent proposal in Fairfax County, VA, to trim the budget through elimination of Adult Daycare Centers. Their daytime services help not just the elderly, but their grown children who are then free to go to work.

Without such services, alternatives are bleak. Private elder care can cost upwards of $10,000 a month, and it's rarely covered by insurance. It's far cheaper for most people to quit their jobs to care for needy parents than to try to pay for assistance at market rates.

Those centers offer more than care for the elderly and more than positions for the people providing the care. They give other people the chance to pursue their own jobs, and we can hardly ask for a wiser form of government spending.

I'm not advocating a hand-out. I'm not suggesting that the government should provide everything we need.

But it should sure give people the chance to provide for themselves. If we cut back on people's opportunities, they'll end up in even greater need.

Funny how that works.

Next Monday's post will be on Who Laughs at the Laffer Curve?

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