Sentences like "we could deliver a year's worth of prenatal care, immunizations, ...[etc.]... for less than what it costs to finance three weeks of Desert Storm" reveal the authors basic sentiments, and are almost enough to make me dismiss her out of hand. But I am not going to.
I agree that we have serious problems in this country. I agree that we need to strengthen our sense of community, and that growing up in a two parent nuclear family isn't the only way to do it. I even agree that we need government involvement to help us overcome our challenges.
However, I believe that outsourcing our sense of community to government bureaucrats is not the answer. What do I mean by this? Raising taxes to pay for more social programs undermines our sense of community and trust. Our contribution to society, as well as our entitlements, are centered on a distant and impersonal machine. Our participation is mandatory and requires no understanding or empathy.
Trust and cooperation are undeniably important, and these sentiments must be channeled through social institutions in order to be effective. But if we allow ourselves to become bystanders in our own social institutions, the very foundations of civic virtue that made them possible in the first place will be undermined.
We need a government that invites and facilitates cooperation. We need a institutions that inform and empower us. Taxing us to pay for programs deemed worthy by the bureaucracy isn't the way to do this. But there is another way. I have written about one promising alternative here. Tell me what you think.