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Ten Things the Federal Government Does Well

I had trouble thinking of just one.

(Click for AUDIO VERSION)

Quick, name ten things the federal government does well. Let me be clear, not the state or local governments, only our federal government. And I'm not concerned if it is right or wrong, but how proficiently they are able to perform a given task. Go ahead, try it. I'll wait.

It's not too easy, is it? I was recently asked this by an old friend from up north and I have to admit it stopped me in my tracks. I had to do some real soul searching to dream up a list, and frankly, it took me some time to do. Nonetheless, here is what I came up with (in no particular order):

1. Pay entitlements - we do not seem to have a problem paying out unemployment, food stamps, or whatever. I suspect we're probably too efficient in this regard.

2. Collect taxes - beyond income taxes, it's amazing how the federal government picks our pocket, be it at the gas pump, tobacco, etc. Even business taxes are ultimately passed on to consumers through increased prices.

3. Enforce taxes - The IRS is certainly a force to be reckoned with. I'm told even the smallest IRS agent can rip a telephone book in two with his bare hands.

4. Operate our park system - I don't think I have been in a federal park that wasn't well maintained with courteous rangers.

5. Strong military - the smartest, best trained, and best equipped in the world.

6. Strong intelligence services - the NSA, FBI, CIA, et al. may not get it right all of the time, but thank God we've got them.

7. Print money - they may not know how to earn it or budget it, but they do a superlative job of printing it.

8. Pay foreign aid - I tend to believe we're charitable to a fault, including those countries who undermine us.

9. Assemble statistics - just about every department knows how to crunch numbers to justify their existence.

10. Take care of themselves - the salaries and benefits for government workers is probably the best in the world.

The fact we cannot enumerate this list off the top of our heads is indicative of the problem we have with our government; that we perceive it as a bloated inefficient albatross hanging around our necks. In contrast, I'm sure we could quickly name ten things the government does poorly, such as policing themselves over spending, preparing and adhering to budgets, protecting our borders, delivering the mail, utilizing our natural resources, combating drugs, maintaining our infrastructure, performing medical research, etc. There is probably dozens of inefficiencies we could name with ease.

If we honestly believe the federal government is the poster child for inefficiency, no wonder taxpayers think they are being fleeced. It's one thing to give money to support your government, quite another if it is a system desperately in need of repair. One last question for you; as a taxpayer, do you truly believe you're getting your money's worth out of the federal government? I thought so.

Keep the Faith!

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Copyright © 2012 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

rick barasso June 13, 2012 at 10:41 PM
Tim, as you have stated, you are supporting Mitt Romney to run our Federal Government. Can you tell us 10 things Mitt did well as the leader of the executive branch of Government in the state of Massachusetts? I've asked you to give us examples of his accomplishments as Gov. of Mass. in the past. However, you have either been unable or unwilling to give us even one. I'm guessing 10 will be nearly impossible.
rick barasso June 13, 2012 at 10:57 PM
Let's try another test Tim. Can you name 10 things the GOP (on the federal level) has done well in say the last 20 years? I will be checking your answers for honesty and context.
John Dolac June 13, 2012 at 11:32 PM
Interesting list. And I don't think it matters which party is running the government these 10 seem to be true. Sure would like to see a leadership team that could come in and keep the good going, but fix those areas that are in need of improvement.
Chris June 18, 2012 at 05:24 PM
The federal government administers Social Security [not an entitlement] quite well, with very little overhead. It also administers VA Benefits, especially health care, at a much lower rate than anyone in private insurance. The federal courts also do a good job of maintaining freedoms like speech and religion. State department maintains worldwide embassies and consular services, and every one I've ever used has been top notch. This list is cynically motivated and not much help for actually thinking about policy matters. I'd be able to come up with ten items off the top of my head no problem. I think the problem here is you're conflating GOVERNMENT with the POLITICIANS who legislate in its name.

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