Our state government shutdown is being lauded in some circles, but it is not a cause for celebration. It’s further proof that our system is broken. In six months our current legislature has not been able to craft a budget they can agree on. They talk about problems that need to be addressed—very real problems in education, our aging population, immigration, and land conservation. However, all this talk focuses on how much money can be raised or spent and which groups should and should not be taxed, not on achieving outcomes that would improve the lives of the average Mainer.
The impacts being felt by many are evidence that our government tries to do too much and that we are far too dependent on it. If you are trying to get a DEP permit for a building project so you can expand your business and hire more workers—sorry, can’t help you. If you are turning in an application for a professional license so you can earn a better wage—sorry, can’t help you. If you are trying to access services deemed non-essential that help you maintain your job—sorry, can’t help you either. You’ve paid far too much for your government and received far too little in return. The government should either help you or get out of your way.
As Maine’s budget stalemate continues, it is important to remember that they are arguing over how to spend $7 billion of your money. They aren’t discussing how to return that money to you or to take less of it going forward. Maybe it’s time to support a party that will. The Libertarian Party will be running candidates all over Maine in 2018. If you want a smaller, more thoughtful government that puts individuals ahead of interest groups, visit your city hall or town office and register Libertarian. City halls and town offices remain open during the shutdown.
If we keep supporting the status quo, it will never change.