There is a reason that everyone cringes upon hearing the old saying, “I am from the government and I am here to help you.” That “help” is often unsolicited and seldom wanted. For example, in a November 25, 2017 editorial the Wall Street Journal noted that across the United States the average tree trimmer is required to undergo 16 times more training than an emergency medical technician, and cosmetologists more than 11 times. That prompted the Journal to comment that that makes sense “only if Edward Scissorhands styles your hair and trims your lawn.”
Abraham Lincoln wrote that “[t]he legitimate object of government is to do for a community of people whatever they need to have done, but cannot do at all or cannot do so well for themselves in their separate and individual capacities. In all that people can individually do as well for themselves, government ought not to interfere.” In other words, government is not a substitute for personal responsibility, not a guarantor of personal success, and not a parent. At the local level, government should focus on removing barriers to innovation, entrepreneurism and economic growth and on providing necessary services, not on creating bloated, entrenched bureaucracies. And, it should promote and facilitate public-private partnerships and cross-jurisdictional cooperation in which the community as a whole benefit. Given the unique character of El Paso County Commissioner District 1 and the challenges that face it, that approach will be increasingly important in the coming years.
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