Political Highlights

Jim Gray: Honesty in Government

Here’s something that governments should do: provide a system for honest information to be placed into the marketplace so that we as consumers, voters and taxpayers can see what our private choices are and how our tax money is being spent. As such I support the present requirement that chain restaurants with more than a certain number of outlets provide information about calories and fat contents on their menus. And I also applaud some legislation now in place in Michigan to require local governments and school districts each year to publish summary reports about public pensions and retiree healthcare plan debts, obligations and expenditures. What we as consumers, voters and taxpayers do with that information is up to us. But, from a practical standpoint, we simply don’t have the time or resources to gather this information by ourselves. So mostly we are blind and often misled, which has allowed school district and public employee’s pension funds nationwide to be drastically underfunded.

If investigative reporters, watchdog groups, voters and even caring politicians could be armed with accurate information about the status of these pension funds, many good things should result. And then Liberty can work more effectively. Honesty in labeling on private products and requirements to list ingredients have been around for decades, and have been effective. It is long since time for that approach to be expanded to other products and to government spending, entitlements and debts. Governments are uniquely suited to make this needed information available to the public, and it is high time that we require them to do so.

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