What is a ‘basic right’? - Ahwatukee Foothills News: Commentary

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What is a ‘basic right’?

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Posted: Tuesday, September 29, 2009 11:00 pm

During a recent news show, some national research revealed that most Americans believe health care is a “right,” not a privilege.

If that’s true, then we really do need a massive federal government takeover to ensure we all have equal and adequate health care.

But we can’t overlook our other “basic rights.” A recent commercial reported that 50 million people go to bed hungry in our country. That’s unacceptable! No one should go hungry. We need another federal agency to ensure that we all have delicious, nutritious food on our tables.

Another basic right is housing. There are millions in the U.S. who live in less than ideal housing. That’s terrible! We need federal agency to ensure that everyone in the U.S. has at least a three-bedroom, two-bath house with a two-car garage. More bedrooms if the family has more children.

And clothing. In a country as rich as ours we can’t have people going around poorly dressed. There’s no excuse for that! We need a federal agency to ensure that we’re all smartly dressed.

And transportation. We simply must ensure that we’re all driving safe, green cars. How about another federal agency for that?

And jobs. We all need interesting, high-paying, but low-stress and low-responsibility jobs.

I think that covers the basic “rights.” Now we just need the proper form of government to give them to us. What form of government was that called….? Anyone….? Bueller?

In all seriousness, I do not mock those who find themselves in the situations above. “There, but for the grace of God, go I.”

My point is providing these “basic rights” has been tried by other countries in the history of humanity and they’ve all failed. Most countries that have tried are moving away from that notion, and yet we, in all of our arrogance and complacency, think we can make it work and are racing to embrace it.

It’s not the role of government to take “care” of its people, especially at the federal level. Government should govern. There’s a huge difference. 

We clearly do need some government programs to help people in dire need, but that should be determined and provided for by local government. They should provide immediate, short-term relief, not long-term subsistence.

“We the people” need to take care of ourselves and take care of each other.


Bill Richardson and his wife, Annelle, have lived in Ahwatukee Foothills for more than 14 years and together, they own a small management and technology consulting company. They have four children, two away at college and two attending local schools.

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