• This is a political forum that is non-biased/non-partisan and treats every person's position on topics equally. This debate forum is not aligned to any political party. In today's politics, many ideas are split between and even within all the political parties. Often we find ourselves agreeing on one platform but some topics break our mold. We are here to discuss them in a civil political debate. If this is your first visit to our political forums, be sure to check out the RULES. Registering for debate politics is necessary before posting. Register today to participate - it's free!

When Should The Government Get Involved?

Hello friends. First a qualifier...

I'm one of the few Libertarians who believes that when there is a large project, possibly nationwide, to be undertaken and there is no profit motive then the government may have to step in and get involved. Examples of where I think the government got involved include and helped the nation...

The National Highway System
Boulder Dam

NASA
Grants For Higher Education

But I've been wondering about the government's success in eliminating polio. Obviously it was for a great good. But when should the government get involved in such a "nationwide" project and when should it be left to a "for profit" enterprise? For example, without government investment and scientific research there would be no internet. But what about government investment and research into things like alternative fuels? It comes off as something that would definitely pay off in the long term by "operating at a loss". What about government research into medicines?

Thoughts? Ideas? Thrown rotten tomatoes?
 

TNAR

Revolutionary
DP Veteran
Joined
Oct 11, 2011
Messages
2,018
Reaction score
918
Gender
Undisclosed
Political Leaning
Undisclosed
There is no possible objective way to claim that certain ends would not have occurred without government involvement. The timeline would certainly change, but the ends themselves cannot be ascertained. More importantly, there is no way of knowing what ends have not occurred because of the removal of investment capital from the private sector by "important" national projects.

:tomato:
 

Objective Voice

DP Veteran
Joined
Apr 14, 2008
Messages
12,201
Reaction score
4,726
Location
Huntsville, AL (USA)
Gender
Male
Political Leaning
Moderate
The Constitution makes it clear that one of the jobs of government is to promote the general welfare of the nation. Folks have argued what that means for years, but the simple answer is determine what problems are affecting society as a whole and then establish policies to resolve the problem. Where you can't find solutions through commerce-based endeavors that reside within the marketplace, you most use social programs at worse, public-private partnerships at best.

The CDC is a good example of how government intervention can be beneficial. Disease outbreaks are largely controlled by the public health system submitting health data to the CDC on a regular basis. Such information helps the CDC develope plans to combat against the spread of viruses nationwide.

Good use of gov't resources in my book because the research, testing, and information gathering saves lives.
 

Eric7216

DP Veteran
Joined
Jan 29, 2014
Messages
3,050
Reaction score
698
Gender
Male
Political Leaning
Independent
Hard to define and there is a lot of room for meaningful disagreements. I think that the "general welfare" standard means that the government should only spend on something that serves the GENERAL welfare and this would exclude anything that simply benefits an individual or group of individuals. It is one thing to have Earned Income Credit or SNAP if the goal is to contribute to society as a whole but another matter is you are simply helping a person or family in need. The government should not do charity but only engage in activities that increase the general welfare. Of course, perhaps a case can be made for entitlement spending but my guess is that we do that primarily out of a sense of charity/compassion and not to increase the general welfare of all. So, yes, spend on roads and infrastructure, transparent regulatory laws, justice, R&D, CDC, etc but cut out welfare type expenditures.

To be blunt, it makes sense to educate young people but at some point people need to be able to stand on their own and contribute. If they don't contribute, don't waste resources better used elsewhere.
 
Top Bottom