What it does well
Promotes Public Health
The government promotes public health by ensuring that Americans areable to live in a country that is safe and healthy. This is achievedthrough programs and agencies aimed at improving public sanitationand finding cures and vaccination to preventable illnesses. Theseinclude programs such as the “National Institute of Health” andthe “Centers for Disease Control and Prevention” (Amy 1). It isthrough these programs that illnesses such as smallpox, polio as wellas cholera have been successfully prevented from infecting Americans.
They have also invented vaccines, which reduce the risks of infectionby 95%, of “diseases like hepatitis B, measles, mumps, tetanus,rubella, and diphtheria” (Amy 1). The government invests in thepurchase as well as dispensing of these vaccines. In the process,Americans lives have been saved, in addition to the money that wouldbe used in treating the diseases. The administration pays competentscientists to work for these programs and ensure that Americans areprotected from any disastrous illnesses.
Also, agencies such as “The Food and Drug Administration” and“the Environmental Protection Agency”, which are funded by thegovernment, work towards enhancing America’s public sanitation(Nutting 1). This has been achieved through measures like disposingtrash, treating water and managing sewer systems. Equally importantis the role of government in funding research aimed at creatinglife-saving medicines.
The government has heavily invested in communications, housing andtransport networks. America’s communications networks derive fromthe use of public funds to invest in improving communications. Fromthe 1840s, the federal administration financed the telegraphdevelopment and “laid the first transatlantic cable” (Nutting 1).The government was responsible for the development of communicationssatellites, which resulted in the invention of cable television. TheDefense Department discovered the internet, through federal researchgrants support (Nutting 1). Currently, the internet has become amajor part of communication, by making it easier to send and receiveinformation through different communication channels.
All major transportation networks have been financed by thegovernment. Historically, the New York state constructed the ErieCanal, while the federal administration funded the construction ofnational roads, used to date (Nutting 1). Approximately all airportsand highways in the U.S. are government projects. Equally importantis the “Interstate Highway System” that acts as the “backboneof long-distance travel and commerce in the United States. It makesup less than 1% of our highways, but carries almost a quarter of allroadway traffic” (Amy 1). It is impossible to envision Americawithout this system that has been actualized by the government.
Low and middle-class earners are able to afford houses due to the“Federal Housing Authority”, a government program that insuresmortgages. Historically, less than half percent of Americans wereable to own a house. However, the program has reduced down paymentsas well as interest rates for most people, thus, making it possibleto own a home (Amy 1). Those who have benefited the most includecivilians unable to pay huge down payments when purchasing a home.
The government is actively involved in protecting Americans from thepurchase, consumption or use of harmful products. Some of theproducts created by manufacturers do not meet consumer standards, yetit is impossible for buyers to make such discoveries. However, withthe help of the “Consumer Product Safety Commission” agency,government enforces laws on manufacturers, to ensure that theirproducts meet consumer standards (Amy 1). Harmful products continueto cause thousands of deaths and injuries. The statistics could bemore, assuming that there was no agency to recall unsafe products.
Areas That Need Improvement
Health Care System
The U.S. spends a lot of money on health care delivery as comparedto other developed nations. However, many civilians are unable toaccess quality health care. The system is marred by many challenges,which is a clear indication of the need for improvement in the healthcare system. The challenges include the fact that many Americans donot have health insurance, and even those insured have to deal withfrequent premium increases and out-of-pocket expenses (Brennan et al.1). This means that even with insurance, one may be compelled toindividually pay for some medical costs.
Research indicates that
“Preventive care is underutilized, resulting in higher spending oncomplex, advanced diseases. Patients with chronic diseases such ashypertension, heart disease and diabetes all too often do not receiveproven and effective treatments such as drug therapies or selfmanagement services to help them more effectively manage theirconditions. This is true for insured, uninsured and under-insuredAmericans” (Brennan et al. 1).
The challenges are as a result of poor health care system management,as providers lack tools and support crucial in ensuring they worktogether with the government to improve the system.
Many Americans are discontent with the high rate of incomeinequality in the country. It seems that wealth is distributed amongthe rich as they continue to become wealthier, while the poorcontinue to become poorer. This is a threat to the U.S. society,which may eventually be divided by class lines. For instance, from1979 to 2009, “the incomes for the richest 5% of families grew by awhopping 73% and incomes for the richest 20% by an impressive 49%.But the increases for the bottom 60% have been pitiful in comparisonthere gains were a meager 7%” (Amy 1). This is a clear indicationof economic disparity.
It is further alarming that more than half of America’s salariesare earned by the rich, despite being more than the total earning of40% of low income earners (Amy 1). When compared to other developedcountries, US income inequality is higher. For instance, Sweden’s40% poorest population earns almost the same amount of wealth. On thecontrary, the poor in America own barely 1% of wealth (Amy 1). Thegovernment needs to improve on ensuring that income is equallydistributed.
According to Weld (1) the government seems to focus more onadministration in the education sector, than investing on the needfor more teachers. It seems that most of the money reserved forfunding the country’s public school system is invested inadministration. When an organization spends too much onadministration, it tends to micro manage, which makes it impossibleto generate profits. This has been happening to America’s publicschools, which have been micro managed, and as a result have beenunable to meet the education needs of students, like the need toemploy more teachers. The outcome is that students do not gainknowledge as they are supposed to, which explains the poorperformance evident in most public schools.
Amy, Douglas. The Forgotten Achievements of Government. Governmentis Good (2007): 1-4. Web. 27 Jul. 2016.http://www.governmentisgood.com/articles.php?aid=7
Amy, Douglas. Why We Need More, Not Less, Government. Governmentis Good (2007). Web. 27 Jul. 2016.http://www.governmentisgood.com/articles.php?aid=8&print=1
Brennan, Niall., Cafarella, Nicole., Kocot, Lawrence., McKethan,Aaron., Morrison, Marisa., Nguyen, Nadia., Shepard, Mark andWilliams, Reginald. Improving Quality and Value in the U.S. HealthCare System. Bipartisan Policy Center (2009): 1-72.
Nutting, Rex. The 10 Best Things Government has Done for us. MarketWatch 27 Sept. 2011. Web. 27 Jul. 2016.http://www.marketwatch.com/story/the-10-best-things-government-has-done-for-us-2011-09-26
Weld, William. What Government Does Well/What Government Does Badly.Gotham Gazette 25 Jun. 2000. Web. 27 Jul. 2016.http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/government/1589-what-government-does-wellwhat-government-does-badly