What is the proper role of government in the provision and funding of education heath care housing job security care of the elderly and public safetyCan and should the government continue to fund...

What is the proper role of government in the provision and funding of education heath care housing job security care of the elderly and public safety

Can and should the government continue to fund the social safety net for its citizens?

Expert Answers
clamo88 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

It is too late, and society has changed too much, to return to the day when government paid for almost none of these services (social safety net).  Government decisions about imports/exports, work conditions, retirement age, health care, how to handle bankrupt organizations' pension funds, etc., all affect the people that the social safety net tries to help.

The question, and its answers, are loaded with emotion for many people who think that the recipients of these services are lazy, don't want to work, etc.  We do have people in the system who think they never have to work and contribute to the tax base.  But the safety net also provides for many people who are unable to work and provide for themselves through no fault of their own.

Putting the emotional aspect aside, if we consider ourselves a civilized society, we will be judged by how we cared for our most vulnerable citizens.  The social safety net is designed to aid those most vulnerable citizens.

My opinion is that we should fund it but that we must find new, innovative ways beyond just taxes to fund it.  And there must be a balance between federal and state funding so the social safety net works without bankrupting states or the federal budget.  Services provided must be structured to be cost-effective, efficient, and actually provide them in a way that does not demean the recipient.

Ashley Kannan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I can say that the answer to this question is completely dependent on the person being asked.  On one hand, I think that there are those who believe that it is the responsibility of the federal government to ensure that each of its citizens is entitled to the promises and possibilities of education, housing, job security, public safety, protecting the rights of the elderly, and health care.  The last of these topics has dominated the American political scene for the last eight months.  The individuals who believe in this have little problem in sensing an expanded role of government in ensuring these elements.  There are others who believe that the government role should be minimized and this limited perception of government suggests that these elements are needed, but are not the domain of the government.  Private companies can compete in the marketplace to deliver the best quality product for these elements and with this, the role of government is lessened as the market is placed with primacy above all.

pohnpei397 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Of course, this is completely a matter of opinion.

To me, the US government can not continue to offer the level of benefits that it does given the fact that Americans are not willing to pay enough taxes to fund the programs we have.

It does seem to me that the government must fund education.  I wish the government would at least help to fund some sort of universal health care.  And no one but the government can do public safety.

However, once you get into stuff like social security, I think that the government has promised too much and put too little responsibility on people to save for their own retirements.

Overall, we need to either have fewer services or higher taxes...

dbwl | Student


As Lincoln said in his famous Gettysburg speech, a government should stick to the principles: "of the people, by the people and for the people." funding of education, health care, housing, job security, care for the elderly and public safety all fall into the last category, for the people. Thus, I believe that a good government is one that provides all of the above.


In an idealistic world, a government would be able to provide everything. Unfortunately, in this real world, a government has very limited budget. Thus, I believe that it should try its best to provide as much as possible within its power through efficient systems and facilities. It it pivotal that a government does not neglect any of the above mentioned services for the people.