Over my lifetime of 87 plus years, I have found that when a troublesome incident occurs that most often the effect of it is addressed rather than the cause. Having a technical background, I have found in trouble shooting an equipment failure, there was no way to effect a permanent repair without finding the cause. Whenever patches were used their effect was temporary and soon the failure recurred. The same logic is self-evident for dealing with any trouble that may occur in government.
The following list illustrates how our government is addressing the effect, rather than the cause, of troublesome issues and possible effective solutions.
Federal deficits/deficit spending: Rather than cutting back on spending, which is causing the deficit, it is being heavily financed by the Federal Reserve System by essentially printing money akin to counterfeiting. Reining in the FED by setting a money supply that increases only in proportion to population growth, as recommended by noted economist Milton Friedman, would effect a cure. The government would have to act responsibly without the FED to bail them out. Pursuing present fiscal policy can only lead to the eventual negative effects of currency inflation to pay off the debt with cheaper dollars and potential collapse of our economy.
Health care: Rather than addressing the increased costs that are caused by the source of funding -- the "deep pocket" of the government -- more money is being authorized by way of the new federal health care act. Whereas, allowing the free market to determine the cost by removing government price setting would address the true cause and provide for financially viable health care.
Gay marriage: It would appear that the problem is the need for any two people who wish to live together to have the same legal and financial rights whether legally married or not. Thus, the cause of the problem could be effectively addressed by way of a civil union for all couples wherein the present laws for married couples would apply. The government would not be involved in dealing with marriage. The civil union could be created at the same place that a license is issued. Subsequent marriage that may be desired can be accomplished outside the edict of government, in churches or elsewhere.
Countering crime by banning guns: Rather than addressing that which causes criminal behavior involving the taking of a life, or many lives, there is the rush to ban firearms that can be and are used for individual defense against it. It should be obvious that our founders understood the need to ensure that the people would have the means to defend themselves, not only from criminals, but future potential oppressive governments.
There appears to have been an evolutionary change in the mores of our society over time and a lack in our public schools of a moral compass covering all its aspects. Accordingly, we have seen the negative influence of violent entertainment content and the causal effects of mental illness. Banning guns is a dangerous band aid in dealing with effect whereas dealing with what are the causes of criminal behavior is the rational way to address the issue.
We must be aware of the special interest groups that lobby members of Congress and the president. Whether it be for personal gain or ideological reasons, negative effects result from a large centralized government that is by its nature prone to this influence. The cause is obvious; the cure should be obvious. Returning the power of the purse to state and local governments is the only possible real cure.
Ben Cerruti is a resident of Brentwood.