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Essay By Ravena Jacob

Rep. Pete Olson

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Mr. Speaker, I am privileged to interact with some of the brightest students in the 22nd Congressional District who serve on my Congressional Youth Advisory Council. I have gained much by listening to the high school students who are the future of this great nation. They provide important insight into the concerns of our younger constituents and hopefully get a better sense of the importance of being an active participant in the political process. Many of the students have written short essays on a variety of topics and I am pleased to share these with my House colleagues.

Ravena Jacob is a junior at Clear Springs High School in Galveston County, Texas. Her essay topic is: In your opinion, what role should government play in our lives?

George Washington once said, ``Government is a necessary evil.'' Even after several decades of debate on whether government should be involved heavily or lightly on people's life, his statement remains true. Since my life is inherently weaved into public and community life, apart from my personal choices, likes and dislikes, all my life is connected to public. Therefore, even when I say it is my opinion, it certainly is influenced by shared values of my family and others of the community. When I think of government I am surprised by the massive efforts by government to keep things going by implementing laws and regulation which influence my life. When I was about 8 years, my dad got a ticket for not stopping at a stop sign as he was hurrying to drop me to day care and trying to be at work on time. I was upset with the officer who issued the ticket. But later it become clearer that the officer may be avoiding a bigger problem. Roads were not paved when automobiles were first invented, and after they were paved, there were no stop signs or traffic lights, and no rules of the road. As vehicles became faster and caused more accidents we had to improve the safety of the vehicles. Changing the roads and the rules could only be done through government. Similarly in times of crisis and disaster, I can see the importance of public service government provide. Thus government's most important role is to protect its citizens. For a business or educational field, we need appropriate control by the government. At the same time the governmental control should not be too much. Its role in my life becomes more optimal when the fine line between big vs. small government is crossed Therefore, the role of government in my life can be analyzed in terms of big or small Government that is usually debated by political parties to describe a large public sector. The term Big Government is used by conservatives in relation to government policies that regulate private or personal matters. Conservatives argue that big government attempts to have federal control on traditionally private institution-based programs. Proponents of small government describe money paid to the government in taxes as money taken away from the private economy. This argument is not true as government spends what it receives. Small-government advocates argue that government can't do anything right. The recent fall of Solyndra, the company that was awarded millions for solar technology expansion, is a good example. Both government and private institutions make mistakes. However, government's mistakes are usually exposed to public and the mistakes of businesses and nonprofits are often unknown. Government's main weaknesses in deciding what to do are based on the special interests that support election or reelection. In some cases extreme governmental control sometimes question a person's freedom. A good example is governmental influence on dictating what we eat and drink. Yes, it is true that sodas and ice cream undoubtedly leads to obesity and other health issues. However, instead of controlling what we intake, government should create awareness of childhood obesity. In a recent discussion Glenn Beck, argued that the government shouldn't be regulating his Doritos intake or how many miles he can drive. President Obama's response was, ``We have also clearly seen the dangers of too little government. Like when a lack of accountability on Wall Street nearly leads to the collapse of our entire economy.'' When considering governmental role in my life I would conclude by saying that governmental duplication and control of existing social institutions should be avoided. Government should never forget its preliminary and preeminent role: establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity.