View Poll Results: Does the government do ANYTHING right?

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  • Yes, pretty much all the time.

    2 4.76%
  • Sometimes yes, sometimes no.

    21 50.00%
  • Usually not "better" (read: cost efficient), but should still be in charge of for other reasons.

    8 19.05%
  • No, never.

    7 16.67%
  • Other

    4 9.52%
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Thread: Does the government do ANYTHING right?

  1. #1
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    Does the government do ANYTHING right?

    So many people keep harping how wasteful and inefficient government is. They shouldn't be doing this, shouldn't be doing that. Yada yada yada.

    Does the government do ANYTHING right? Or, at least better than private industry?

    What does government do better, you ask?

    There are some things that government may or may not do "better", if you only look at costs, but still should be in charge of over privatization. In other words, some things come down to factors other than simply cost and money. Some of these items would include...

    • Roads & highways - Could be more efficient, but overall government actually does a pretty good job. Plus, I'd rather pay taxes than be bothered by constant private toll booths and/or separate monthly bills from electronic tolling. I just want to get in my car and drive, and I don't want 7 roads to one town when one or two will do, while there are no decent roads to another town.
    • Law enforcement & prison systems - All aspects of law enforcement should have ZERO profit motive. While I do care about cost, cost is secondary to the job of enforcing the law and keeping people as reasonably safe as possible. A profit motive... as is clearly evidenced by both private prisons and civil asset forfeiture... effectively serves only to pervert the very core concept of justice, and should not be allowed. At all. Again, could use some tweaks and adjustments, but this one is a clear case where government is better.
    • I actually like the overall concept of how cities and counties and states coordinate things like coherent layouts and utilities. Again, not all perfect, but the randomness of fully privatizing some of these things would be counter-productive.
    • The Depression-era Rural Electrification Administration (REA) was a huge boon for our country, and that if left to privatization, our country would have actually been backward overall for far longer than it was. It helped propel us into being the First-World country that we are/were. Unfortunately, on the flip side, our government is horribly and completely incapable of knowing when a job is done, and persists in perpetuating unneeded departments and bureaucracies into infinity. The REA itself was a good idea, but it should have been shut down sometime in the 1950s. It still exists today, but the name was changed to deflect attention after 60 Minutes did a story on it several years ago.


    What are some things the government should let go of and either privatize or at least scale way back?

    Education - At least at the federal level. Should be limited entirely to state level and lower. Private and/or charter schools should be given much more freedom, as long as they don't violate rights and meet certain goals... said goals being exactly the same as public schools, whatever that may be. Federal involvement should be completely eliminated. They're just siphoning money off the top with no real return.

    Honesty questions...

    • Name one thing the government does better than private industry.
    • Name one thing private industry does better than government.


    Answer both, not just one. Even a person at the extreme of their side of the political aisle can find something significant that is good about the other side and something significant that is bad about their side... if they're intellectually honest.
    Last edited by radcen; 07-19-12 at 04:09 PM.
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  2. #2
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    Re: Does the government do ANYTHING right?

    The government screws up right.

    Most people, unfortunately, screw down left.

  3. #3
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    Re: Does the government do ANYTHING right?

    On our last backpacking trip I went up this trail that was built and maintained by the U.S. government:



    We then camped at this lake that was stocked with trout by the U.S. government:



    And then later down another trail built and maintained by the U.S. government, and fished this creek, stocked and managed by the U.S. government:



    Spent several days in that federal wilderness, easily caught over 100 trout, built some great memories for our son, and the whole thing did not cost me a cent other than 20 dollars for a Colorado fishing permit. So when people say the government doesn't do anything right, I beg to differ. You won't find anything like that in the private sector.
    "You're the only person that decides how far you'll go and what you're capable of." - Ben Saunders (Explorer and Endurance Athlete)

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    Re: Does the government do ANYTHING right?

    Well...

    ...you could argue that manifest destiny came at the cost of the Indian Wars and plenty dead in building the transcontinental railroad.

    It was also fundamentally anti-social since people only press the frontier when they're not embraced by local community. Society isn't supposed to be this hypercompetitive mess where people play dumb over hierarchy. People should live together and explore together rather than believing they're unequal.

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    Re: Does the government do ANYTHING right?

    yes.

    the government has a necessary role in regulating (and sometimes delivering) essential services with inelastic demand. some examples i would include in this category would be roads, defense, energy, and health care. i'm not arguing that any of these should be entirely public. there is, however, a societal benefit to have government involvement somewhere between regulation and delivery of service for all of the above.

  6. #6
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    Re: Does the government do ANYTHING right?

    Quote Originally Posted by radcen View Post
    So many people keep harping how wasteful and inefficient government is. They shouldn't be doing this, shouldn't be doing that. Yada yada yada.

    Does the government do ANYTHING right? Or, at least better than private industry?

    What does government do better, you ask?

    There are some things that government may or may not do "better", if you only look at costs, but still should be in charge of over privatization. In other words, some things come down to factors other than simply cost and money. Some of these items would include...
    As you mentioned one issue is cost effectiveness which the government lacks another would be that a business is beholden to their customers more than the government is to the citizenry that is the government bureaucracy has no direct nor near term consequences for poor service.



    [*]Roads & highways - Could be more efficient, but overall government actually does a pretty good job. Plus, I'd rather pay taxes than be bothered by constant private toll booths and/or separate monthly bills from electronic tolling. I just want to get in my car and drive, and I don't want 7 roads to one town when one or two will do, while there are no decent roads to another town.

    Government would do a worse job if they did not contract out the building of the roads to the private sector. While a non-government road would almost certainly be a toll road government also has toll roads. I like the idea of those who use the roads pay for them instead of having to pay through some tax which might be levied against someone who doesn't use them as much. Weather or not it private is not material to me. Anyway as long as eminent domain is not used for the construction of the private toll roads I do not care.

    [*]Law enforcement & prison systems - All aspects of law enforcement should have ZERO profit motive. While I do care about cost, cost is secondary to the job of enforcing the law and keeping people as reasonably safe as possible. A profit motive... as is clearly evidenced by both private prisons and civil asset forfeiture... effectively serves only to pervert the very core concept of justice, and should not be allowed. At all. Again, could use some tweaks and adjustments, but this one is a clear case where government is better.
    I have to agree with you the making of prisons for profit is a big mistake as well as the civil forfeiture (suing the property to confiscate is another issue).



    [*]I actually like the overall concept of how cities and counties and states coordinate things like coherent layouts and utilities. Again, not all perfect, but the randomness of fully privatizing some of these things would be counter-productive.
    I have issues with having a government establish a local monopoly for such things as Internet service. No issue for sewage or water but given that gas and electric is generally private if monopoly status is given some restrictions would have to be in place for what they can own or do.


    [*]The Depression-era Rural Electrification Administration (REA) was a huge boon for our country, and that if left to privatization, our country would have actually been backward overall for far longer than it was. It helped propel us into being the First-World country that we are/were. Unfortunately, on the flip side, our government is horribly and completely incapable of knowing when a job is done, and persists in perpetuating unneeded departments and bureaucracies into infinity. The REA itself was a good idea, but it should have been shut down sometime in the 1950s. It still exists today, but the name was changed to deflect attention after 60 Minutes did a story on it several years ago.

    Possibly but given what happened when the Tennessee Valley Authority was established for example the confiscation of land from other wise poor people so it could be flooded for electric plants. I think that the cost may have been high (loss of freedom) for that benefit which would have occurred if the government would just let it happen at a market based pace.


    What are some things the government should let go of and either privatize or at least scale way back?

    Education - At least at the federal level. Should be limited entirely to state level and lower. Private and/or charter schools should be given much more freedom, as long as they don't violate rights and meet certain goals... said goals being exactly the same as public schools, whatever that may be. Federal involvement should be completely eliminated. They're just siphoning money off the top with no real return.

    If the Federal government wants a role with education it should be limited to the University/College level and then it should be based on what our countries need more engineers and scientists not English or Lit Majors.


    Honesty questions...

    • Name one thing the government does better than private industry.
    • Name one thing private industry does better than government.



    Answer both, not just one. Even a person at the extreme of their side of the political aisle can find something significant that is good about the other side and something significant that is bad about their side... if they're intellectually honest.

    One of the reasons in the past governments used mercenaries is because government just sucked at organizing anything beyond a small militia as an ongoing basis. But I do not want to have to use them. I prefer for the military to be a concern of the government not a private one. So the answer would be anything where a profit motive is not possible or objectionable. An example where government is best put would be space exploration.

    An example where private business wold do better would be restaurants. One can only look where the government does food service to show that.
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  7. #7
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    Re: Does the government do ANYTHING right?

    I give the government credit for having its bureaucracy work much of the time. Considering that it is one of the toughest things to accomplish, I think we do alright.
    Michael J Petrilli-"Is School Choice Enough?"-A response to the recent timidity of American conservatives toward education reform. https://nationalaffairs.com/publicat...-choice-enough

  8. #8
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    Re: Does the government do ANYTHING right?

    Quote Originally Posted by SouthernDemocrat View Post
    On our last backpacking trip I went up this trail that was built and maintained by the U.S. government:



    We then camped at this lake that was stocked with trout by the U.S. government:



    And then later down another trail built and maintained by the U.S. government, and fished this creek, stocked and managed by the U.S. government:



    Spent several days in that federal wilderness, easily caught over 100 trout, built some great memories for our son, and the whole thing did not cost me a cent other than 20 dollars for a Colorado fishing permit. So when people say the government doesn't do anything right, I beg to differ. You won't find anything like that in the private sector.
    Except they did not build those mountains. They did not lay the rivers.

    You should be thanking God, not the government.
    “Tyranny is defined as that which is legal for the government but illegal for the citizenry.”
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  9. #9
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    Re: Does the government do ANYTHING right?

    Quote Originally Posted by Aberration View Post
    Except they did not build those mountains. They did not lay the rivers.

    You should be thanking God, not the government.
    The only reason why we have hundreds of millions of acres of public land for Americans to fish, hike, hunt, bike, camp on and explore is the government. Otherwise the bulk of it would be either gated communities of trophy homes, clear cuts, mines, or whatever people could do with it to make money off of it at all possible.

    Sure, nature created those areas, but whether they are preserved or exploited is up to us. God may have created the mountains in West Virginia, but its coal companies that blow them up just the same.
    Last edited by SouthernDemocrat; 07-19-12 at 06:39 PM.
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    Re: Does the government do ANYTHING right?

    The only thing that I have seen that the government was actually good at was producing self-agrandising lying poloticians that serve no useful purpose and would probably kill the plants if we ground them up and used them as fertilizer.

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