Dec 152009

Dear U.S. government:

Lately, a lot of people have been hating on you. They seem to have forgotten everything good you’ve done for us citizens. Instead, they call you inefficient, bloated and evil without taking into account just how necessary you really are. Don’t let them get you down.

Thank you, federal government, first and foremost for rethinking a confederacy. Uniform standards of currency across the country are pretty cool, as are your unified military force and interstate highway systems.

Thank you for making sure that when I turn the faucet, the water coming out will be safe to drink, cook with and bathe in. I’m glad that you’re continuing to fight for cleaner air to breathe and that you still believe that national forests are worth protecting.

Thank you for Medicare, for allowing my grandparents to have access to the health care that they increasingly rely on as they age. Had it not been for this program, my grandmother might not be alive today. Likewise, the social safety nets of Social Security and Medicaid are invaluable resources that are often taken for granted.

Thank you especially for the FDA and its tireless efforts to make sure that when I go to the grocery store, I can pick anything off the shelf without fear of it getting me sick. I appreciate that companies are forced to disclose the ingredients of their food and drugs with labels. It prevents my loved ones from unknowingly ingesting MSG, something both my father and girlfriend are incredibly allergic to.

Thank you for regulating consumer goods, Consumer Product Safety Commission. Even though that dastardly Ronald Reagan tried to keep you from ensuring our safety, I’m glad that people have once again realized your importance. From toys to barbeque grills, knowing there are enforced standards behind the manufacturing of the airplanes I fly in or the crib I place my child in at night always makes me smile.

I know that every so often, a product slips under the radar, like with lead-based Chinese toys, but considering how many products are on the market, you do a peachy-keen job.

Thank you FDR for the New Deal. Even though I don’t really agree with the idea of subsidizing farms now, saving agricultural communities during the Great Depression was an incredible feat of patriotism. Many in our rural communities in the 1930s would have been left without electricity because private companies refused to provide it. Benevolently, you decided electricity was something even rural America deserved by making it available for everyone.

Thank you for creating the Post Office. Since you run it, it doesn’t discriminate against whom it delivers to, not even in the most remote rural locations. I am very glad you subsidize the post office so that it’s not solely concerned with profits and always able to deliver mail anywhere in the country for an affordable flat rate.

Thank you for creating the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC), which protects my money from unscrupulous bankers and financial institutions that see no moral issue with jeopardizing economic integrity for short term gain.

Thank you for providing guaranteed public education to everyone. I’m glad you realize the importance of an educated populous for maintaining the opportunities of advancement that all of us are able to enjoy. You really should consider higher education more of a priority, though. Too many smart young people are without the financial means to attend college, and that’s just plain silly.

I understand your management for the past 30 years hasn’t been too great, and some things still need work. Environmental policy and financial standards really need a booster shot, although I’m glad you’re starting to regulate derivatives, but where’s the single-payer health care?

I know it gets difficult, but hang in there.

Oh and by the way, I’m a-OK with you raising my taxes to pay for our expanding social safety net, which we are increasingly reliant upon.


Your No. 1 fan.

M. Alex Stephens is a senior political science major. His column appears Thursdays in the Collegian. Letters and feedback can be sent to

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