“The legitimate object of government is to do for people what needs to be done.”

Abraham Lincoln made these comments on what role the government should play on July 1, 1854. Lincoln asked why government exists. “Why not each individual,” he said, “take himself the whole fruit of his labor, without having any of it taxed away , , , ?”

He answered, saying that government should do what people cannot do by individual effort. Lincoln cited many examples of things that people cannot do on their own: making and maintaining roads and bridges, providing for the helpless, providing schools, and disposing of the deceased’s property. Other responsibilities of government, Lincoln pointed out, are because of the “injustice of men.” These responsibilities include the forming and maintaining of the military, police, and civil departments.


If Lincoln would be here today, surely he would be surprised to learn that access to basic electricity, which travels along “roads of electrical wires” , is restricted by a few large private companies.   What “needs to be done” is to free the grid for all Americans.  Legislation that would allow buyers to purchase renewable energy in a free market and encourage competition between small businesses will help our economy get back on track.