Except neither is true. Instead of focusing on legislation that would provide the needed carrots and sticks to persuade business to create jobs or doing something big and audacious like the works program from the 30s, Republicans in Congress and in any number of state legislatures are wasting taxpayer money meddling in the uteri and sex lives of its citizens and debating whether adults should be able to buy alcohol on Sunday.
The only demographic enjoying small government is big business and they enjoy the pleasures of having their diamond fruitcake and fucking it, too. Government stays out of their way long enough to allow them to amass huge fortunes through sketchy business practices and when that scheme blows up, they turn to Daddy government to cover their tab all the while declaring their ability to handle continuing lack of oversight because this mess wasn't really their fault anyway. It was those awful consumers who caused the world economy's meltdown. Buying big houses and shit they didn't need. The nerve. Not that anyone profited from that spending spree. Oh no.
So smaller government means smaller for business, but not just business, but specifically big business. What's good for them isn't always good for small business as anyone struggling to get credit for their business can tell you. But smaller government as defined by current Republican leadership also means that individual freedoms are curtailed unless it comes to taxes. But even that is a big lie. We cut taxes for the top and the problems become local. Local governments raise fees and lay people off to cover their nut. Yes, the government has shrunk but so has its ability to deliver services and so has the number of employed people in your community. So far no business - big or small - has rushed in to most places to fill the gaps.
But here's a way in which yes, I admit, I want a bigger government. I want a government that sees something wrong and uses the tax dollars to help people and to shape society into something better.
On the state's department of labor website, there's a job posting for an on-site housekeeper that (1) Required the person to live at the hotel/motel/Holiday Inn* (say what?); (2) Paid minimum wage $7.25; and (3) Would deduct the employee's weekly rent from their paycheck.
Again, say what?
A little quick math.
Assumptions: The lucky person who gets that job works 40 hours per week, claims one deduction for state and federal and gets paid weekly. He or she (most likely she) will net $247 per week.
Now, let's say that her weekly rent for the room is $100. That leaves her with $147 per week on which to live. Sounds okay, right? She doesn't have to pay for her utilities because that would be covered by her rent at the hotel/motel. Fine. But let's look at this monthly. She has $588 a month with which to pay for the following:
Food and her personal care and laundry items (she can't steal soap, shampoo and detergent from her parsimonious employers, can she?)
Quarters for her laundry
Car payment, if she has one
Health insurance & doctor visit copays
That $588 is stretched. I can't even fathom what it costs for an individual to buy medical insurance these days. Let's hope she's healthy and without any pre-existing conditions. And I included tithing because people here consider religion a vital part of their lives.
So getting back to the government. This job is posted on a state website that is monitored by state employees. Here's what I want from my government in this regard:
Pick up the phone and say to that employer in the sweetest voice you can muster "Hell no, this is bullshit, this is not Dickens' England, are you fucking kidding me? We're trying to get people to earn living wages, not slave wages. How can this person help stimulate the economy, thus creating demand which creates more jobs, if they don't have enough money in their pocket for the essentials, much less disposable income? Really - are you fucking kidding me? If you're going to require the employee to live on-site then you should provide free housing, free use of the laundry and a written contract that outlines their hours and overtime. And once more - are you fucking kidding me?"
That's what I want. I want a government that is looking out for us, too, not just the corporations
Now that imagined conversation goes against my preferred method of catching more flies with honey than vinegar (sorry, vinegar, in this case you lose), but I am willing to set aside my pseudo-Southern charm and passive aggression long enough to clap that ballsy employer around the earhole.
Because here's the thing - that employee who is putting in full time hours (likely more without overtime pay) and playing by the rules is still going to require government assistance for things like health care. She'd possibly qualify for Medicaid here in Georgia. So the taxpayer is subsidizing this employer who gets off the medical insurance hook.
That's the kind of taxpayer and employee abuse that I think government should put a stop to. An employee must make a living wage and taxpayers shouldn't have to subsidize employers through the backdoor. We need regulation because employers use these kinds of methods for increasing their profits. And it flies in the face of what's good for our society as a whole. There's no escaping the fact that the quickest way to create jobs is to create demand for goods and services. Put money in the hands of the people who will spend it et voila! We want! We need! Here, take our money! Continue to concentrate the money in the hands of the few and well.....(looks around, shrugs).....this is working out well for the top 1%. Yes, yes, but the wealthy will invest! Uh huh. So where's the evidence that that idea is working out?
Sadly, instead of creating incentives (a stick, not just a carrot is needed) for business to pay living wages and put some money into the hands of the many (who will spend it), our government is rigged through a pay for play campaign system to protect the needs of the few.
As that famous philosopher Spock said, "We're fucked."
I do understand that businesses have to keep their payroll low in order to stay afloat, but there are also basic human rights that must be honored. And since business - small or large - can show spectacular displays of being incapable of doing this, government must step in.
For those of you wondering, no I didn't apply for the job. I'm not qualified. Another neato thing employers are doing is upping the experience requirements for any and all jobs. You want to know why someone like me just can't go out and find any old job? Well, that lulu of a position requires that you have a minimum of twelve months of housekeeping experience and they expressly note that cleaning your own house doesn't count.
Right - because snaking drains, making old, cheap faucets shine and learning how to remove cat vomit stains from carpet and red Georgia clay from white baseball pants aren't transferable skills.
*Not a Holiday Inn for real. At least as far as I know.