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Has there ever been a successful government program?

radcen

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Can somebody name one... just one... government program that was such an unqualified success, and because it was a success, that it was ended because it was no longer needed?

I have long said that, in my opinion, power and prestige corrupts people/politicians more than money. And they won't turn down the money, either. But, as I grow older, and as I learn the history behind so many government programs... i.e.: the so-called "drug war", the "war on crime/terrorism", welfare, even smaller programs that tackle homelessness and illiteracy, etc... they all seem to be set up to give an illusion of wanting to solve the problem, but not really doing serious measures that could solve the problem. They all seem to get stuck in a vicious circle that falls short and really only serves to make sure that enough of a problem always exists to justify their continued existence.

Granted, due to human frailties, none of these problems could have 100% success in the sense that there will always be a homeless person or a drug addict somewhere. But, I don't think it unreasonable that they could be "solved" to the point that the bureaucracies could get smaller because the problem got smaller. Yet, that never seems to happen. Programs always get bigger and more intrusive. A sane person would actually conclude that many of these programs are actually huge failures if they continue to need to grow.

Politicians, in their greed for power and prestige, *need* their little fiefdoms to continue to exist and thrive.

What think you?
 

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small pox vaccinations
 

Thoreau72

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Oh hell yes there are successful government programs, and you mentioned several.

The trick is learning the perspective FROM WHICH to view and judge the success of those programs.

The drug prohibition is immensely successful, for almost an entire century now. It is successful because a huge enforcement apparatus has grown up because of the policy. The Prison Industrial Complex, some call it, and they're not far off.

Perspective is everything. :mrgreen:
 

radcen

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Good example. :thumbs:

Truth be told, I knew there had to be at least one, and there's probably a few more, but as an overall concept I believe my general point is still valid. Part of my reason for saying "just one" was to hopefully draw people in for a better discussion.
 

radcen

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Oh hell yes there are successful government programs, and you mentioned several.

The trick is learning the perspective FROM WHICH to view and judge the success of those programs.

The drug prohibition is immensely successful, for almost an entire century now. It is successful because a huge enforcement apparatus has grown up because of the policy. The Prison Industrial Complex, some call it, and they're not far off.

Perspective is everything. :mrgreen:
Precisely my point. :lol:

I honestly believe that many of these people, especially the politicians that depend on these bogeymen for their purpose in government, do not really truly want to solve anything.
 

What if...?

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Can somebody name one... just one... government program that was such an unqualified success, and because it was a success, that it was ended because it was no longer needed?

I have long said that, in my opinion, power and prestige corrupts people/politicians more than money. And they won't turn down the money, either. But, as I grow older, and as I learn the history behind so many government programs... i.e.: the so-called "drug war", the "war on crime/terrorism", welfare, even smaller programs that tackle homelessness and illiteracy, etc... they all seem to be set up to give an illusion of wanting to solve the problem, but not really doing serious measures that could solve the problem. They all seem to get stuck in a vicious circle that falls short and really only serves to make sure that enough of a problem always exists to justify their continued existence.

Granted, due to human frailties, none of these problems could have 100% success in the sense that there will always be a homeless person or a drug addict somewhere. But, I don't think it unreasonable that they could be "solved" to the point that the bureaucracies could get smaller because the problem got smaller. Yet, that never seems to happen. Programs always get bigger and more intrusive. A sane person would actually conclude that many of these programs are actually huge failures if they continue to need to grow.

Politicians, in their greed for power and prestige, *need* their little fiefdoms to continue to exist and thrive.

What think you?
Part of it is how they are funded.

If you don't spend all of your budget, you get less next year. But next year may be more expensive than last year, so to avoid underfunding they spend ALL of their budget. Then claim they need more, also to avoid cuts.

We should reward savings instead of "punishing" it by reducing budgets. How to do that is the tricky part.
 

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Actually...more to the point is whether or not the Imperial Government has ever created a program that was ever efficiently. If there's one constant to our government, it's that if a program is created, it's either looted (from other programs), bloated, or exploitative. I'd be willing to bet that one-third of our federal government is unnecessary right now. It can either be dissolved, given to the states, or given to the private sector.
 

radcen

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Part of it is how they are funded.

If you don't spend all of your budget, you get less next year. But next year may be more expensive than last year, so to avoid underfunding they spend ALL of their budget. Then claim they need more, also to avoid cuts.

We should reward savings instead of "punishing" it by reducing budgets. How to do that is the tricky part.
Quite right. I believe, but cannot prove, that this particular budgeting process was intended precisely to accomplish what I said in the original post. It perpetuates their little kingdoms without having to stand up and justify what they're doing or why they're doing it. I believe this is a result of the drive for power and prestige, in other words.
 

ttwtt78640

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Can somebody name one... just one... government program that was such an unqualified success, and because it was a success, that it was ended because it was no longer needed?

I have long said that, in my opinion, power and prestige corrupts people/politicians more than money. And they won't turn down the money, either. But, as I grow older, and as I learn the history behind so many government programs... i.e.: the so-called "drug war", the "war on crime/terrorism", welfare, even smaller programs that tackle homelessness and illiteracy, etc... they all seem to be set up to give an illusion of wanting to solve the problem, but not really doing serious measures that could solve the problem. They all seem to get stuck in a vicious circle that falls short and really only serves to make sure that enough of a problem always exists to justify their continued existence.

Granted, due to human frailties, none of these problems could have 100% success in the sense that there will always be a homeless person or a drug addict somewhere. But, I don't think it unreasonable that they could be "solved" to the point that the bureaucracies could get smaller because the problem got smaller. Yet, that never seems to happen. Programs always get bigger and more intrusive. A sane person would actually conclude that many of these programs are actually huge failures if they continue to need to grow.

Politicians, in their greed for power and prestige, *need* their little fiefdoms to continue to exist and thrive.

What think you?
Your definition of success, elimination of the need for the program, greatly limits what can qualify as successful. Some needs will never go away, e.g. national defense, yet our defense programs are clearly seen as successes if we are not invaded and conquered. Is working at your job not a success simply because you must continue to do it in order to survive for most of your life? We acheive success in K-12 education (for most) even though that program will likely never end.
 

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I don't think a definition of a program's success requires a govt agency to disappear, or even shrink, nor does it require that a problem disappear. Having got that out of the way, there have a # of govt initiatives that have been extremely successful

Tobacco cessation
Driver and highway safety
Malnutrition
Rural electrification
The interstate highway system
development of computing technology and the internet
 

radcen

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Your definition of success, elimination of the need for the program, greatly limits what can qualify as successful. Some needs will never go away, e.g. national defense, yet our defense programs are clearly seen as successes if we are not invaded and conquered. Is working at your job not a success simply because you must continue to do it in order to survive for most of your life? We acheive success in K-12 education (for most) even though that program will likely never end.
I did not imply that all programs were unnecessary. Defense being one of those. Of course we will always need defense. And, yes, not being attacked is a success, but that is a constant vigilant type thing. Not quite the same.

Same with education. You can virtually eliminate illiteracy, but success has to be measured in adults. You would still need an education system of some sort to teach kids to read to begin with. So, no, while illiteracy could be virtually eliminated, education itself could not. Illiteracy was included because, with as much money as we throw at it, and with as many programs as we have to combat it, we don't seem to be making significant headway. And I'm talking special illiteracy programs for teens and/or adults, not basic education in earlier years.
 

Occam's Razor

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The CCC

Though it is needed again.

Anyone collecting welfare, food stamps or unemployment should be working for those benefits.
 

radcen

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I don't think a definition of a program's success requires a govt agency to disappear, or even shrink, nor does it require that a problem disappear. Having got that out of the way, there have a # of govt initiatives that have been extremely successful

Tobacco cessation
Driver and highway safety
Malnutrition
Rural electrification
The interstate highway system
development of computing technology and the internet
You didn't get anything out of the way, you merely stated your approval of bloated government... unless that was what you wanted to get out of the way.

I was wondering when/if someone would mention rural electrification. The Rural Electrification Administration (REA) is a perfect example. It accomplished its goals... then held on for decades after it had accomplished its goals. Too many people mistakenly believe it was eliminated because there is no agency with that name anymore. Not so. Due in part to so much negative attention for being a no longer necessary program, its name was changed and given a lower public profile to avoid continued criticism. It still exists.

Rural Utilities Service - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
 

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You didn't get anything out of the way, you merely stated your approval of bloated government... unless that was what you wanted to get out of the way.

I was wondering when/if someone would mention rural electrification. The Rural Electrification Administration (REA) is a perfect example. It accomplished its goals... then held on for decades after it had accomplished its goals. Too many people mistakenly believe it was eliminated because there is no agency with that name anymore. Not so. Due in part to so much negative attention for being a no longer necessary program, its name was changed and given a lower public profile to avoid continued criticism. It still exists.

Rural Utilities Service - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
The fact that the REA had other programs added to it's jurisdiction does not mean that the effort to electrify rural areas failed.
 

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Can somebody name one... just one... government program that was such an unqualified success, and because it was a success, that it was ended because it was no longer needed?

I have long said that, in my opinion, power and prestige corrupts people/politicians more than money. And they won't turn down the money, either. But, as I grow older, and as I learn the history behind so many government programs... i.e.: the so-called "drug war", the "war on crime/terrorism", welfare, even smaller programs that tackle homelessness and illiteracy, etc... they all seem to be set up to give an illusion of wanting to solve the problem, but not really doing serious measures that could solve the problem. They all seem to get stuck in a vicious circle that falls short and really only serves to make sure that enough of a problem always exists to justify their continued existence.

Granted, due to human frailties, none of these problems could have 100% success in the sense that there will always be a homeless person or a drug addict somewhere. But, I don't think it unreasonable that they could be "solved" to the point that the bureaucracies could get smaller because the problem got smaller. Yet, that never seems to happen. Programs always get bigger and more intrusive. A sane person would actually conclude that many of these programs are actually huge failures if they continue to need to grow.

Politicians, in their greed for power and prestige, *need* their little fiefdoms to continue to exist and thrive.

What think you?
I think politicians spend their time doing two things:

  1. Creating problems.
  2. Campaigning for re-election to fix the problems they create.
 

radcen

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The fact that the REA had other programs added to it's jurisdiction does not mean that the effort to electrify rural areas failed.
Where did I say it failed? :shrug:

I didn't. In fact, I think it was a huge success... that should have been eliminated about 40 years ago, 10-20 years after its success was pretty much complete.
 

ttwtt78640

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I did not imply that all programs were unnecessary. Defense being one of those. Of course we will always need defense. And, yes, not being attacked is a success, but that is a constant vigilant type thing. Not quite the same.

Same with education. You can virtually eliminate illiteracy, but success has to be measured in adults. You would still need an education system of some sort to teach kids to read to begin with. So, no, while illiteracy could be virtually eliminated, education itself could not. Illiteracy was included because, with as much money as we throw at it, and with as many programs as we have to combat it, we don't seem to be making significant headway. And I'm talking special illiteracy programs for teens and/or adults, not basic education in earlier years.
Perhaps the question of success of gov't programs should be based on their efficiency or on a cost/benefit analysis rather than whether the program could eventually be eliminated. We eliminated the moronic attempt at prohibition of alcohol and instead concentrated on control of its sales to minors, taxation of its profits and criminalizing only the harm done by those that abuse it.
 

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Where did I say it failed? :shrug:

I didn't. In fact, I think it was a huge success... that should have been eliminated about 40 years ago, 10-20 years after its success was pretty much complete.
The program to electrify rural areas has, for all practical purposes, been ended.
 

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The real question is has anything every been achieved without government?
 

ttwtt78640

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The real question is has anything every been achieved without government?
Beer (among other things) was invented without gov't. The question is whether gov't helps to improve the environment for more individual achievement/advancement or tends to limit that natural progress. Simply because a little of something is good does not mean that more of it is necessarily better. ;)
 
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TacticalEvilDan

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The real question is has anything every been achieved without government?
Depends on your definition of "without."

If your point is that the government influences everything that goes on within it jurisdiction so long as you're willing to play Six Degrees, you can that with just about anything.

Did you die because a plane crash-landed into your house? No? Thank the FAA, right?
 

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Good example. :thumbs:

Truth be told, I knew there had to be at least one, and there's probably a few more, but as an overall concept I believe my general point is still valid. Part of my reason for saying "just one" was to hopefully draw people in for a better discussion.
I'm just glad you didn't ask for two :mrgreen:
 

CalGun

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It happened in the early 1990s in California and it was mocked by me and other conservatives. In fact a friend of mine in politics helped start it. It was a state funded program to buy gross polluting cars and get them off the road. I'd be guessing to say they spent $125/150 million but they eliminated about 5% of the pollutants entering the air. That probably saved a lot of people. Adversely, and unfortunately this state will now waste $110 billion on high speed rail with a stated goal of reducing air pollutants, but the amount of savings is not stated because it's less than 1/10th of 1%.



Can somebody name one... just one... government program that was such an unqualified success, and because it was a success, that it was ended because it was no longer needed?

I have long said that, in my opinion, power and prestige corrupts people/politicians more than money. And they won't turn down the money, either. But, as I grow older, and as I learn the history behind so many government programs... i.e.: the so-called "drug war", the "war on crime/terrorism", welfare, even smaller programs that tackle homelessness and illiteracy, etc... they all seem to be set up to give an illusion of wanting to solve the problem, but not really doing serious measures that could solve the problem. They all seem to get stuck in a vicious circle that falls short and really only serves to make sure that enough of a problem always exists to justify their continued existence.

Granted, due to human frailties, none of these problems could have 100% success in the sense that there will always be a homeless person or a drug addict somewhere. But, I don't think it unreasonable that they could be "solved" to the point that the bureaucracies could get smaller because the problem got smaller. Yet, that never seems to happen. Programs always get bigger and more intrusive. A sane person would actually conclude that many of these programs are actually huge failures if they continue to need to grow.

Politicians, in their greed for power and prestige, *need* their little fiefdoms to continue to exist and thrive.

What think you?
 

specklebang

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Success is hard to define.

One poster pointed out beer as a success without government. But beer has caused arrests, accidents etc. So, if you look at anything you can find its flaws along with its accomplishments.

The WPA (I think) built Hoover Dam and personally, I'm so glad they did because I'm only a fair swimmer.
 
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