What Government Makes
Taylor Mali once got angry at a man who guffawed at what teachers ‘make’, and gave us great poetry
(And something to think about. I had teachers like Mr. Mali, once upon a dark ages ago, and am grateful).
Teachers make thinkers and dreamers and people with confidence and the know-how to back it up. (Thank you!)
What do Wall Street insiders make? A short term profit – and a ruined economy.
What do CEOs who outsource union jobs to Mexico and Malaysia make? A short term profit – and a weakened middle class here and dangerous work conditions there.
What do companies who store their money on an atoll ‘off-shore’ make? A short term profit – and ballooning deficits and (possibly) a great tan.
What does the CEO make who cuts full time workers and replaces them with temporary and part time workers? A short term profit – and insecurity and illness and low morale and rising anger.
What do some corporations make? They make a profit – and make excellent products and services and good working environments for their employees at all levels – and a difference.
Very few things make me angrier than the idea that taxing the wealthy, especially corporate money, is ‘unjustly’ taking money that they ‘earned’. Just like every other worker on the planet, the wealthy work within this wonderful structure we call civilization, and benefit from it – far more than most.
They benefit from the laborers who they mistreat and underpay.
They benefit from (human) lawmakers who follow the money to stay in power, and the structure that has grown to benefit them over the larger citizenry.
They benefit from the educations and healthcare and roads and military and emergency workers and retirement insurance and safety nets and utilities and regulations that are provided, sometimes amazingly well and sometimes only middling well by governments and government contractors at all levels of government.
What Government Makes
Government makes the air we breathe, breathable, and the water we drink, drinkable.
It makes the food we eat, edible.
It makes infrastructure that works to connect us through streets, utilities, cities, food chains, and many other ways.
It makes it possible for the poor to survive, or even to thrive and then to make a difference.
It makes us a part of the solution, or the problem.
It makes laws that are responsive to the citizenry, and it makes mistakes (responsive to the citizenry), and makes new laws.
What does government make? It makes civilization. What about you?
(And a final note: Is this an essay or spoken word poetry? If you tell me it’s poetry, I’ll make a video and post it for you.)