GOVERNMENT, MONEY AND HAPPINESS

Posted on May 18, 2014

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Before there was a U.S. Constitution and the American republic was just a baby, Thomas Jefferson became ambassador to France, and he found out that the one single curse to human happiness was bad government.

Getting government right has been humanity’s ever ending quest. And when we talk about government the conversation gets a little tense.

Government is a loaded term. Some people see it as an almost sacred idea, etched on holy parchment and carried to us on angel’s wings. For others, it is the butt of jokes, and comedians have gotten laughs at its expense.

Other people say we need less government and taxes that supports many important programs like education, health, and welfare of the people.

Everyone agrees that government can be improved. But that is where agreement ends. Even if you are a libertarian, you have to agree at least, we need government for defense against outside threats, deterrence of criminals, and the settlement of civil disputes.

But when government is hijacked by a person, clique or an interest group, it ceases to be “of the people.” That is my concern when I see the use of wealth to gain political advantage to build further wealth, power and future advantage.

Government is no joke. The right level of government will always be argued. But, money should not be used to buy political advantage for personal gain. Large amounts of money is spent every election. In 2016, both political parties will spend over one billion dollars each on the presidential race.

Jefferson pointed out that honesty and transparency are crucial to good government, and the best measure to how well government is doing is how effective it produces human happiness.

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