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Published on May 11, 2005 By terpfan1980 In Politics
This article may surprise a few people who have come to expect me to fall on the fairly conservative side of most issues, but bear with me for a bit.

I've been thinking for a few days that perhaps it's time to propose a sizable expansion in the size of our government, and in the services that the government provides. Perhaps in some ways a kin to the expansion that took place during FDR's time through the use of the Job Corps and other programs, though not necessarily in the same ways.

There are several areas I would suggest need attention, and through which we may be able to create several jobs that would in turn provide large stimulus to the economy in many areas.

#1 - border control and immigration enforcement. We are clearly not equipping enough front line troops and enough technology to really protect our borders. Illegal immigrants cross the border pretty much at will. Yes, they may play some games and have to try several attempts, but generally they're getting through in much larger numbers than are being stopped.
We could and should expand the numbers of people we have doing this job. Not just temporarily, but permanently. Get more people doing the job, and give the individuals that are doing the job a chance to rest a little. Perhaps raise the pay levels to help discourage corruption and bribe-taking that may be taking place so that people turn their backs and ignore illegal activities around them.

#2 - federal air marshalls service. We need to put more air marshalls into the skies. We need enough for at least 40 - 50% of all flights to have a marshall aboard. More if possible. We also need real thinkers, people who can work without imposing ignorant self-defeating rules and regulations about dress codes (see earlier articles on that subject) that make it tougher for the marshalls to do their jobs, but either way, we need more people in the jobs so we can truly provide security and make the job tougher on terrorists.

#3 - coast guard and harbor security need improvements. More personnel, more technology and money for doing the job.

#4 - actual government. We need to expand the number of people in the House of Representatives. Something that used to happen fairly regularly until modern times. During the early part of our nations history, our representatives in the House actually represented people. For the most part, they knew the citizenry, and only had to represent the views of thousands, rather than 10s or 100s of thousands of people. As time went on, it seemed that things were getting out of hand, and decisions were made to cap the number of representatives. While I don't want to double the size of the house membership, I do think the house could include about half again as many members so that average citizens could count on getting real representation again. As is, the average congress person can very easily ignore the people he/she represents because it's just one of many. One person's complaints really don't matter, as it would take hundreds or perhaps thousands of votes to get someone voted out of Congress.
Term limits might help in this area also, but it seems that movement has long since faded (though I really wish it hadn't, I'd like to impose something like an 18 consecutive year maximum for any elected office at all levels, and a 12 consecutive year maximum for President of U.S., but that's just me I guess).

#5 - medical research. This is an area that is always in need of more money to help find more cures for the problems that ail us. We have a generation of people that are going to be retiring which are going to add huge burdens to the medical care industry. More money in researching drugs and medicine for all citizens would be a big help, and normally provides huge returns for the money spent.

#6 - scientific research. Expand the budget for NASA. We spent much less now, as a percentage of the GDP, on NASA budgets than we did during the space programs hey-day. In the 1960's we spent large sums of money (relatively speaking), but got back so much in benefits that we still can't really measure it all. President Bush has proposed getting back into the manned space flight business in a serious way. That is a good start, but our citizenry just yawned, and no one really seemed to get excited. We need to get excited about this again, and get back into the space race in a big way. Again, we'd be creating jobs for aeronautical engineers, mechanical engineers, petroleum and chemical engineers, computer scientists, and many others in the technical fields. I read today that NASA's new (incoming) chief wants to speed development of the replacement for the space shuttle. That is perhaps a good start, but it seems to me to be about 10 years late, as are many other things in NASA's recent past.
Think about it, NASA's fleet of space shuttles are 1970's technology. Built in the early 1980s (at the latest). Even somewhat refurbished and upgraded, the technology is still old. In many ways, our aeronautic industries are still working with technology from the 1950s. We've not been able to cheaply and reliably fly at faster than the speed of sound without making too much noise or being too inefficient to keep prices low enough to get many people moved, and instead we've seen the old SSTs (Concordes) retired for being too expensive and inefficient.

#7 - related to number 6 above, but needed no matter what, fuel and propulsion research. We must move away from fossil fuels and develop more efficient and more environmentally friendly propulsion methods for our own transportation. Public transit is a mess in many areas, and we continue to have a love affair with our own vehicles. We must develop more and better hybrids or engines that use fuels that are renewable and easy on the environment. The amounts of money that have been talked about so far for spending in these areas is laughable. Pennies on the dollar at best. It needs to be nickles and even dimes, we need to spend today for the future so we won't need to then when it costs more money.

#8 - road and infrastructure improvements. Even as we need to spend on developing better transporation, we also need to improve our aging roadways. Bridges need attention, road surfaces in many areas are in ill-repair, and need to be replaced. The worst part of this issue is that the governments at the state and federal level take in much money via gasoline taxes we all pay at the pump. The money is collected, and spent, but never seems to be sent back out at the amounts that are being collected. Whether the money is getting transferred to the general funds and spent on other items or not, we seem to be collecting enough and need to spend it on it's designated purposes.


There are a few other areas I could think of too, but the list above seems to make the most sense to me. I know it seems blasphemous to speak of expanding government and spending more money in a time when we are running up deficits. But, there are times when deficit spending is needed to help expand the economy and help meet national goals and obligations. Is this such a time? Would the benefits of the taxes on the wages and salaries of the people that get jobs in the areas I mention above be enough to help offset the additional spending that would be needed, or would we be going too crazy and spending too much?

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