Should the US Government Provide More Public Goods?

The issue of public goods provision has risen in its importance in the last decades. In this definition, a public good is an economic product or service that is consumed by the public collectively, for instance, schools, national defense, highways, fire protection, etc. are all collective goods since they are available for the public to use. However, it is important to understand that the government should be responsible for providing only those public goods that cannot be provided by the market. On the other hand, there are sometimes benefits for the market not being able to provide public goods, for example, private defense services are usually less desirable for the reason of their lack of reliability and high fees.

Due to the separation of private and public services in the United States, the demand for the public goods on the part of the government rises with every decade since the public sector is unable to offer them. Thus, the government should never stop its efforts in offering more public goods to its citizens.

The need for public good provision can be supported by the following example. If to compare the health care system of Sweden and the United States, the level of the Swedish health care services is so high that the wealthy layers of the population also use it while in the US over 43 million people remain uninsured due to their low level of income. Because private goods and services require payment, the government should not allow citizens with lower incomes pay extra for the services that can be provided and funded by the States.

In terms of cost covering for public goods, the cost-benefit analysis conducted by the US government is often inefficient since it includes inaccurate levels of income. If conducted correctly, the income that has been under-generated could have been targeted at providing more public good, apart from the considerations aimed at cost balancing. When it comes to the majority of public goods, citizens pay a fixed cost, sometimes with additional fees, like, for example, parking fees or paying to drive on a highway. If it were not for the fixed taxing system, very few members of the society would have been ready to pay extra for the preservation of forests or buildings’ renovations, especially in cases when they rarely care about such public goods.

The importance of providing more public goods is also linked to preserving the trust of the American citizens. Because the public is mandated to pay taxes, it would like to see the results of their input. Thus, by means of providing more public goods and reducing the finding of such areas like military defense (which is important but funded excessively), the government will be able to gain the trust of the public that would be more willing to pay taxes because the results are visible.

To provide another example to support this idea, there is a significant difference in the way job training is offered in Sweden and the US. Sweden provides free training for everyone who desires it while in the States this type of training is very limited in its nature. Thus, for the public to see where their tax payments go to, the government should gradually start broadening its job training practices as the public good that would, subsequently, bring significant benefits both to the society and the government.