The Philippine presidential elections will happen VERY soon and I remember some people thinking “if the government wasn’t corrupt we’d be rich!” or “we are poor because the government is terrible!” During these times, some candidates are hailed by the their supporters as the “savior” who will change the Philippines and that all of the country’s problems will be solved instantly once they’re elected. As a side effect of this, some people appear to think that when their candidates win and the government changes, all their own personal problems (financial or otherwise) will be solved as well.
While it’s true that government corruption and irresponsibility can destroy the lives and welfare of an entire nation or, at the minimum, make everything more difficult, it’s a terrible mistake to think that having a better government will magically turn you from a simple laborer into a billionaire without you doing anything. The country might change for the better (or it might also change for the worse), but none of that will mean anything to any one of us unless we do something about our own personal situations.
What can the government do?
A lot of things, but here’s a general overview of the powers of the government:
It can create great roads and highways, institutions, and other forms of infrastructure that benefit those in its care such as public schools, hospitals, libraries, parks, public gymnasiums, and more.
It can create laws that can enhance and protect our well-being like the laws against crime and harmful activities. It also provides the ways to enforce those laws through the police, military, or other similar institutions.
Through those laws and infrastructure, the government can provide things like assistance to small businesses (ex. BMBE under RA 9178), provide assistance to farmers (RA 7607), Social Security (SSS), pensions for retirees, and many more.
What the government CANNOT do:
Make you rich and happy.
Again, just because that presidential candidate that you like wins, it doesn’t mean that you’d suddenly have a fairy tale happy ending where you’d be instantly rich and successful or that your world would suddenly become perfect. Celebrate all you’d like, but if you keep doing what you’ve always done in your job or business and you don’t add value, you’ll keep getting the same wage or earnings no matter who becomes president.
Stop waiting for the government or the world to change because even if it does, it won’t mean anything if you don’t change your own actions. If you want to live a happy life, you’ll still have to go out there and earn it yourself!
Theodore Roosevelt, the 26th President of the United States of America, said it well:
“There never has been devised, and there never will be devised, any law which will enable a man to succeed save by the exercise of those qualities which have always been the prerequisites of success: the qualities of hard work, of keen intelligence, of unflinching will.”
Blaming “the government” for all of our own faults and failures never helps. We must all vote wisely, but we must always remember that we are the only ones responsible for earning our own success.