I’m pleased with most of the results for Ohio this mid-term election. We have a new governor, a new U.S. senator, and a batch of other new folks. I’m pleased that most of these folks are Democratic, the party that mostly represents my own opinions. The smoking ban was enforced and expanded, and the minimum wage was raised.
I ate lunch at the Yin-Yue today, where there was much blustery condemnation and cursing of yesterday’s winners (did I mention that most of the old timers with whom I have lunch are staunch Republicans?). One of the more popular jokes they made was that the Democrats now have two years to screw things up in order to ensure that another Republican president is elected in 2008.
One of my lunch companions tried to goad me by asking how I felt to be rich, insinuating that the Democrats would consider my salary “above average”, and therefore tax me more. I replied, honestly, that I didn’t mind in the least. Unlike many people, I genuinely don’t mind paying for government services that help everyone. Yes, of course I hate watching money get wasted, but I am cognizant of the difference between a poorly run program and a program designed to waste money. It seems many on the right assume all programs are designed to waste money. (I guess from their perspective, it does waste money, because they’re privileged enough to not rely on social services for their own well-being.)
I countered to my antagonistic companion that the Democrats have a better shot of improving life for everyone, since rampant privatization sure hasn’t worked yet. I read somewhere (and now cannot locate) a convincing argument that some things ought not be privatized, but rather run – at a loss, if necessary – by the government because they are fundamental to a decent life in today’s world. Things like basic utilities ought not be privatized, because they’re vital for basic living, but also because the sheer enormity of their operation makes true competition impractical. Without true competition, it’s extremely unlikely that “market forces” will work to the consumers’ favor.
I’m not wearing rose-colored glasses, and I don’t think the current crop of politicians are going to usher in some kind of nirvana for Ohio or the nation; but I’m hopeful that we’ll make modest improvements in the quality of life for most of our citizens. We really ought to be helping one another out, and our politicians really ought to be working to improve life for every human being they represent.