My thoughts today turn to the middle one: "I'm from the government, and I'm here to help." According to Ronald Reagan these are the nine scariest words in the English language. Surprisingly, I tend to agree, but I'm certain I do so for far different reasons from Reagan.
It seems the individual members of the US government (both Congress and the Executive Branch) are each so consumed with perpetuating their own grip on power, mostly by kowtowing to corporate interests rather than doing the will of the people who elected them, that there is indeed little the government is willing to do to actually help the ordinary American.
Yet, there are some things that only the government has the resources to do, if only it had the will. This is especially true of massive public and semi-public works on which modern life is dependent. Provision of clean water, sewerage and sewage treatment; transportation infrastructure such as roads, rail, airports, and ferries; waste collection, recycling, and ultimate disposal; power transmission and distribution; and telecommunications infrastructure are all provided by a continuum of public and private (corporate) funding and support, with the first being more heavily funded by government and the last more by private capital and revenue.
The problem is that in many instances the heads of corporations act in their own self-interest and disguise it as the interest of the corporation as a whole (which is to say, the interests of the stockholders). And in many instances the interests of the corporations and their stockholders, whether or not they mesh with those of their CEOs, are at odds with the interests of the US economy as a whole (which is to say, the interests of the average American). And when conflicts of interest arise, it is the duty of government to resolve such conflicts in favor of doing the most good for the widest number of people -- but a government beholden to corporations cannot fulfill its duty.
And in essence this is most obvious when one considers the interests involved in the Iraq war. To the interests of the average American, war anywhere is an unmitigated disaster everywhere, because it not only puts all one holds near and dear in jeopardy, but also steals resources from the domestic economy to which they shall never return, and thereby impoverishes the nation. To the interests of the average multinational corporation, however, war is a cash cow, never mind the waste in resources and human suffering it engenders.
This is why every war has to be sold to the people with patriotic sentiments and noble intentions, and more and more are simply not buying it. So a government beholden to the war machine becomes increasingly tempted to bypass the rational marketplace and force the Kool-Aid down the collective throat of the nation.
This, quite simply, needs to stop.