I am continually reminded of the many ways that governmental policy affects our finances. While we are encouraged to challenge and question the laws put into place, we are often forced to accept certain regulations that have a direct influence on our lives. While the political system is set up to give citizens a certain level of power in the legislation and laws that are passed, my past experience has told me that there will be laws that create a financial strain on you.
Young adults, who are already put in a difficult situation financially, can sometimes feel the full force of this influence. I thought I would examine the popular ways that the government affects young people’s finances. While this may be informative, I ultimately want to suggest that young adults should respond appropriately and take control of the areas that they can control.
Recent Example of Governmental Influence
It was just last week that the Supreme Court upheld the new healthcare legislation by Obama. My facebook newsfeed was filled with opposing views on the ruling. (It’s funny how that happens, isn’t it. I guess we don’t choose our friends and family based on political views). Some people were celebrating the affirmation of healthcare as a basic need for all people and others were complaining about the government stepping beyond its role. Despite the political views, there is one thing for certain – its direct influence on our healthcare costs.
The new regulation requires all individuals to have healthcare (or face an additional tax). While it obviously affects those who currently don’t have healthcare, it also leads to the increase costs in healthcare for others. This past year, my healthcare costs went up around 10-15% (I’m not exactly sure of the exact increase since my employer absorbed some of the increase) and I would guess that it will increase again in 2013.
The increase in costs adds another layer of expenses mandated by the government. In order to stay in the black, individuals and families will need to adjust their budget, as they do with any other expense. It’s just like finding out that any other expense has gone up. Popular things that we are used to increasing include gas prices, groceries, prices of new cars, etc. Ultimately, we learn to adapt.
Another Way that Government Affects our Finances
Yet, while the government is best known for its negative influences on our finances, it affects our finances in more ways than healthcare costs. In fact, the government often assists tax payers in more ways than tax relief (which should not be under-appreciated). While I don’t care to go into the many ways that local and federal taxes influence our decisions based on financial reasons (like where to live or retire because of lower income tax), another important financial influence of the government is by creating jobs.
Whether you want to admit it or not,government requires employees to carry out the tasks that it is responsible for. The government, by existing, creates opportunities for eligible workers. This includes many of the government-funded jobs like teaching, park services, emergency personnel, etc. Whether is it working directly for the government in a traditional position or as a contractor, who often has to bid on jobs (Cordell Government Tenders, for example, provides an easy way for individuals and companies to find governmental jobs or projects), the government directly creates/sustains a large job force.
While it is easy to always complain about the government, how it does this or that and causes hardship for us, there are also benefits to having an infrastructure similar to the one that we have. I am not trying to locate myself one way or the other (because I have complaints just like anyone else), but I am suggesting that we not forget about the complexity of the financial influence that the government has.