Gave some thought yesterday about how I personally benefit from the federal government -- besides the social security payments. I could only think of indirect ways--clean air, clean water, First Amendment rights of free speech, religion and assembly, safe food, safe meds, safe air travel, Interstate highways(!!), radio, labels on food, National Parks and National Forests and Wildlife Refuges, things like that. Oh yes, the US Postal Service. I benefit most directly from that federal service

I realized the overwhelmingly biggest part of the federal budget is defense budget, includign the sunk costs of paying for past wars. The next biggest expense was social security. The things that touch my life directly are chump change in the federal budget.

Then I thought about state and local budgets and how I could help, and I felt far less helpless. The #1 way to help is to stay healthy and out of trouble. Don't require the services of the police, the ambulance, Department of Corrections, Department of Social and Health Services. Perhaps we could help the budgets by giving more generously to the charities that help the people who rely on the state and local agencies.

And a big, BIG way to help is to NOT DRIVE. That way I wouldn't risk an accident, wouldn't need the roads, wouldn't add to global climate change, would get more exercise and be healthier and in less need of medical intervention.

My state's "paramount duty" is to fund basic public education, and I don't know what I can do to bring down that cost.

I am lucky. While my own social security is not due to start coming to me for another 15 or so years, I have been getting SS since my daughter was 22 months old and I learned she was eligible. If my SS ship never comes in, I will be alright, because I have already benefited from my daughter's support (which has truly helped us buy her education, a major expense for any parent).

I thought of another way to help the state budget, and maybe others as well. I can contact my legislators and let them know I won't hate them for raising taxes. On the contrary, I'll think them courageous for doing the unpopular but right thing.

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