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5 Things the Government Has Done Right

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The editors at Best Social Work Programs decided to research the topic of:

5 Things the Government Has Done Right

The government is not perfect and the idea that the American government can't do anything right has become extremely pervasive. Our democratic government - along with you, me and our ancestors - created the conditions that have allowed private citizens and companies to build a great nation. Here are 5 things our government has done to improve our lives.

Building Interstate Highway Systems

Without U.S higways inner cities would be more packed, higher freight charges which would lead to higher prices, vacation travel would be restricted.

- Almost all U.S highways have been built with public money.
- Private investors say its too expensive for the benefit of others.
- Over 65,000 miles of highway in 50 states.
- Named Dwight D. Eisenhower Interstate System in 1956, since then
- Saved lives of over 187,000 people
- prevented injuries to nearly 12,000,000 people
- Returns $6 in economic productivity for each $1 it cost
- Carries 23% of all roadway traffic
- Carries 1 trillion person miles/year equivalent to 1 trip around world for 37,000,000 people
- Since 1956 more that 17 trillion person miles = 3 trips around the world for each American

Investing in Communcations

Communication networks create benefits that cannot be easily recouped by the builder

- Federal Gov. funded development of telegraph in 1840's
- Laid first transatlantic cable
- May 1844, Samuel Morse sent 1st electric telegraph on cable.
- Within decade, 20,000 miles of cable were installed and led to American expansion.
- Development of communication satellites
- responsible for the take off of cable
- Lowered costs of long distance calls. were initially $10/minute
- Federal grants funded Defense Departments development of the internet

Securing Our Energy Supply

Since 2008, U.S dependence on foreign oil and gas production has decreased and dependence on domestic energy has increased.

- From 2008 - 2011 foreign oil dependency decreased from 57% to 45%
- in 2011 American oil production reached 6000/day
- thus lowering gas prices due to less foreign dependency
- Made push for more energy efficient vehicles
- New fuel economy standards for all passenger vehicles
- Avg. fuel performance will be 54.5 miles/gallon by 2025
- Will save consumers over $8000 in fuel costs
- Building our energy supply
- Most energy investments come from private sector but government has played role
- Hydroelectric dams provide power throughout Northeast and Southeast
- Nuclear power plants are result of Manhattan Project

Encouraging Education (This section could be a timeline maybe?)

Our democracy would be impossible without and educated and skilled populace

- The offering of free and public education is important function of government.
- Department of Education created in 1867 to help states with effective school systems.
- WWII had significant role on federal support for education.
- Lanham Act (1944) and Impact Aid Laws (1950) made payments to school districts
- GI Bill (1944) - sent 8 million WWII vets to college
- 1958 congress passed National Defense Education Act
- Response to Soviet launch of Sputnik
- Help America compete with Soviet Union in the Science and Technology fields.
- 1960's and 1970's - Title VI of Civil Rights Act, Title IX of Education Act, and Section 504 of Rehabilitation Act
- Prohibited discrimination based on race, sex, and disability.
- Department of Education - made a cabinet department in 1980
- serves 14,000 school districts
- roughly 56 million students in 99,000 public schools and 34,000 private
- Grants, loans and work study to 15 million postsecondary students

Improving Public Health

The greatest advancements in longevity are due to our governments role in public health.

- Public dollars fund most research that provides life saving drugs
- CDC has reduced by 95% our chances of hepatitis B, measles,mumps, tetanus.
- Gave us public sanitation measures
- Water treatment
- Sewer systems
- trash disposal
- Pure food and drug act (1906) sparked the FDA.
- Environmental Protection Agency founded in 1970 to combat pollution.
- Vaccines for Children program in 1993, provide vaccines to children in low income families
- Thousands of federal, state and local agencies keep us safer and healthier than we'd be in their absence.