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The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman

The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman

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    Is Your Government Wasting More Than You Are?

    If America’s really going to get out of this economic mess the right way, it needs restructure how it works as a nation. A stimulus bill can only go so far. The government can give incentives and tax breaks to try to prod businesses and people to upgrade and innovate, but at the end of the day, the average American has to make a stand.

    Some Americans fear there isn’t much they can change in their everyday lives to affect the state of their country. This mindset is wrong.

    While Americans shout and cry about the inefficiencies and excess of government and corporations, we rarely take an inward look at how we ourselves can trim our wasteful spending.

    How often do you leave a light on when you’re in the other room? Do run the water when you brush your teeth? Do you take excessively long showers? This might seem like nitpicking when thought of individually, but as a collective, these needless expenditures add up to cost the country billions of dollars annually. This is money that could be paying for other things that we end up using stimulus bucks for.

    The government can only do so much. The American people need to demand that domestic automakers make more fuel-efficient cars, not wait until the market raises the demand on oil to the point where the economy and environment has become irreversibly ruined.

    There needs to be a push by the consumer to order companies to focus on domestic growth while doing everything they can to preserve and consume less.

    Think about how many billions of dollars this country wastes annually on cheap imports from foreign countries. Do Americans really need to buy their kids an assortment of 50 lead-based toys from China every Christmas? Why not check what you buy and try to shop more for home grown items rather than overseas products?

    The stimulus package should push for measures that help Americans achieve such ends. People need to realize that they’re in control of their own destinies, not the politicians and lobbyists.

    The producers in this country have spent far too long thinking they can get away with deciding what costumers want and will buy. It’s this kind of 20th century mindset that leads to debacles like this recession.

    The American automakers wonder why people won’t buy their cars anymore. After all, they’ve been able to pander to what they think Americans will buy for decades now, and it used to work when times were good. How about instead of focusing on the idea that we want Hummers, they shift their attention onto what we need. No, not hybrid Hummers and SUV’s. How about the fuel efficient, zero-emission, water-powered car technology that companies have been squandering for years?

    The problem isn’t that we think we can do anything we want, it’s the fact that we embrace this philosophy in too many ways. There needs to be a balance between what consumers demand and what producers supply.

    This country needs to shed the 20th century free-market ideology and realize that the 21st century has to be about conservation of current finite resources and investment into long-term alternatives and technologies.

    Things like clean coal, biofuel, solar and wind power might be costly endeavors now, but when the world becomes barren of old oil 50 years from now, America will be able to use its vast infrastructure of innovation to export technology to other countries.

    Until then, keep in mind how much you consume on your end.

    It’s nice to go to work 9 to 5 every weekday, come home, and point your finger at the squabbling politicians on television, but the fact is that the future of this country, and of the world, is a collective responsibility no matter what your job or status is.

    Hopefully the stimulus bill will help Americans not only to get back jobs in the short term, but also to encourage investment in a better tomorrow.

    In the meantime, never hesitate to voice your opinion. If you want something changed, don’t think twice about writing to your congressmen or senator.

    Remember, in this country, you’re supposed to be the one in control, not them. You do pay their salary after all.

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