There’s a place for government, state workers

To the editor:

One of the great myths in America, promoted by Republicans from Ronald Reagan to prominent leaders today, is that government is the enemy, and that the only measure of government is its size. In a recent letter, Mike Bryant perpetuates this myth.

Mr. Bryant starts with a false assumption, stating most government workers “are Democrats,” which is an absolutely ridiculous assertion. I’d like to remind Mr. Bryant that government workers at all levels are human beings, doing a required job, and most work hard for the public good.

It is not size of government that matters, but the efficiency and productivity that matters. If there are inefficient or non-productive agencies or departments, fix them or get rid of them. However, Mr. Bryant calls for smaller government with fewer services. What would Mr. Bryant reduce?

Perhaps our military, a vital part of government that protects our people? Or perhaps Social Security, so it takes longer to get payments and resolve disputes? Maybe our Veterans Administration. I guess Mr. Bryant doesn’t really care if our veterans don’t get quality health care in a timely manner?

Or, locally, let’s put up with six-hour waits at the DMV if we reduce its size.

Finally, Mr. Bryant shows his real bias when he attributes the growth in government only to Democrats. Look at the facts: The size of government accelerated and grew faster under George W. Bush than in any other modern administration.

Government workers are people who try to do their jobs well just like any worker in the private sector. Shame on Mr. Bryant for painting them all with a negative brush. Let’s all agree, all parties, to measure government not by its size, but by its efficiency and what it adds to society and the public good.

Paul Carman

HENDERSON

To the editor:

Recently I have heard complaints about the state having too many government workers. There have also been insinuations that state workers are overpaid and have exorbitant benefit packages (see the Review-Journal’s Feb. 3 editorial cartoon). One letter writer even suggested the complete elimination of state workers.

This is a tough issue, particularly as Nevada wrestles with how to cut expenses and balance the state budget in a very ugly recession. While I am an advocate of less government, I think it is important to point out a few details that may have been overlooked.

State agencies on the whole provide services that cannot be eliminated without serious difficulty. For instance, if we eliminate or severely cut the DMV, does that mean that drivers are no longer screened or prevented from driving when they are not qualified or have no car insurance? That presents a large safety issue for all other drivers.

I happen to work as a counselor helping families keep their children out of foster care (a cost-saving program for rural Nevada). If workers at my agency are not able to keep doing their jobs, children will not be kept safe from parents who may be violent when using drugs or otherwise dangerous to children. That violates the mandate of government in the U.S. Constitution to protect citizens.

If the Nevada Highway Patrol is cut or eliminated, we see even more safety concerns. How about the Nevada Department of Transportation? Nevada is a largely rural state with long distances between communities. Citizens rely on maintenance of the highways by NDOT to have access to critical medical care, merchants in other towns, and so on.

If there are agencies that are unneeded, it would be important to understand why they are unneeded.

As for being overpaid, I can speak to my own situation only. Although I moved here from Utah to accept a job, it was not the outrageous pay that lured me; it was the opportunity to return to the southern deserts of Nevada in which I grew up. As a counselor, I could have much better income in private practice.

Nevada has many things to its credit. The state government agencies provide critical services, particularly in the rural areas that are sometimes overlooked. If cuts are to be made, let’s make sure there is critical thought about how services that are essential for the safety of the citizens here will be met.

Winona Davies

PAHRUMP

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