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Jewish World Review
August 14, 2006
/ 20 Menachem-Av, 5766
I'm from the government and I'm here to help you
That was a big laugh line some years ago.
Well, Paul Light of the Brookings Institution ( a good think tank, but a little too stuffy for my taste) wrote a book a few years ago entitled Government's Greatest Achievements (Brookings 2002) in which he briefly iterates 50 programs what we have done in America and what we ought to do. Mostly they are success stories. He lists 50 programs for the future.
I don't agree with all his lists, nor all his priorities, but it is quite a list of past accomplishments, and future endeavors.
At the top a variety of civil rights programs. Assure defense capabilities. The rollback of of Soviet communism. Rebuilding Europe after WWII (they are sooo grateful, particularly to French). Retirement aid. Aid to the elderly. Medicare. Medicaid. Environmental standards. New medicines. Wilderness protection. Crime reduction. Welfare Reform. Helping veterans the GI Bill of Rights. Greater homeownership. Open up markets. More financial transparency. And much, much more.
The future looks like more of the same.
It wasn't perfect.
The bureaucracies can drive you nuts.
But even the vast majority of hard right conservatives don't want to live in an America with gaunt elderly people in the streets, unsafe, rigged stock exchanges (we have enough as it is), no means of higher education for those who want to bootstrap, or a return to the ugliness and tragedy of segregation.
BTW, recognizing the achievements, sorting out the failures forms the basis of that dreaded persuasion neo-conservatism.
I'm very proud to be called one. I am one.
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© 2006 Ben Wattenberg