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« We've Been Here Before...and After | Main | Now They Tell Us »

So, What Did Johnson Do?

Well, in the course of creating the Great Society, that's never so great it can't be made greater by a little more of your money, here's the list of legislation (be afraid; be very afraid):

College FacilitiesClean Air
Vocational EducationIndian Vocational TrainingManpower Training
Inter-American Development BankKennedy Cultural CenterTax Reduction
Presidential TransitionFederal Airport AidFarm Program
Chamizal ConventionPesticide ControlsInternational Development Association
Civil Rights Act of 1964Compobello International ParkUrban Mass Transit
Water Resources ResearchFederal HighwayCivil Service Pay Raise
War on PovertyCriminal JusticeTruth in Securities
Medicine Bow National ForestOzark Scenic RiverwayAdministrative Conference
Fort Bowie Historic SiteFood StampHousing Act
Interest EqualizationWilderness AreasNurse Training
Revenues for RecreationFire Island National SeashoreLibrary Services
Federal Employee Health Benefits
MedicareAid to EducationHigher Education
Four Year Farm ProgramDepartment of HUDHousing Act
Social Security IncreaseVoting RightsFair Immigration Law
Older AmericansHeart, Cancer, StrokeLaw Enforcement Assistance
National Crime CommissionDrug ControlsMental Health Facilities
Health ProfessionsMedical LibrariesVocational Rehabilitation
Anti-Poverty ProgramArts & HumanitiesAid to Appalachia
Highway BeautyClean AirWater Pollution Control
High Speed TransitManpower TrainingPresidential Diability
Child HealthRegional DevelopmentAid to Small Business
Weather PredictingMilitaty Pay IncreaseGI Health Insurance
Community Health ServicesWater Resources CouncilWater Desalting
Assateague Nat'l SeashoreWhiskeytown Nat'l Rec. AreaDelaware Water Gap Rec. Area
Juvenile Delinquency ControlArms ControlStrengthening UN Charter
Int'l Coffee AgreementRetirement for Public Servants
Food for IndiaChild NutritionDept. of Transportation
Truth in PackagingModel CitiesRent Supplements
Teachers CorpsAsian Development BankClean Rivers
Food for FreedomChild SafetyNarcotics Rehab
Traffic SafetyHighway SafetyMine Safety
Int'l EducationBail ReformTire Safety
New GI BillMinimum Wage IncreaseUrban Mass Transit
Civil Procedure ReformFederal Highway AidMilitary Medicare
Public Health Reorg.Cape LookoutWater Research
Guadalupe Nat'l ParkBicentennialFish-Wildlife Preservation
Water for PeaceAnti-Inflation ProgramScientific Knowledge Exchg.
Cultural Materials Exchg.Foreign Investors TaxParcel Post Reform
Civil Service Pay RaiseStockpile SalesParticipation Cert.
Protection for SavingsFlexible Interest RatesFreedom of Information
Education ProfessionsEducation ActAir Pollution Control
Partnership for HealthSocial Security IncreasesAge Discrimination
Wholesome MeatFlammable FabricsUrban Research
Public BroadcastingOuter Space TreatyModern DC Gov't
Vietnam Vets BenefitsFederal Judicial CenterCivilian Postal Pay
Deaf-Blind CenterCollege Work StudySummer Youth Programs
Food StampsRail Strike SettlementSelective Service
Urban FellowshipsConsular TreatySafety at Sea Treaty
Narcotics TreatyAnti-RacketeeringProduct Safety
Small Business AidInter-American Bank
Fair HousingIndian Bill of RightsSafe Streets
Wholesome PoultryFood for PeaceCommodity Exchange Rules
Grain StandardsSchool BreakfastsBank Protection
Defense ProductionCorporate TakeoversExport Program
Gold Cover RemovalTruth in LendingAircraft Noise Abatement
Auto Insurance StudyNew Narcotics BureauGas Pipeline Safety
Fire SafetySea Grant CollegesDC School Board
Tax SurchargeBetter HousingInt'l Monetary Reform
Int'l Grains TreatyOil Revenues for RecreationVirgin Islands Election
San Rafael WildernessSan Gabriel WildernessFair Federal Juries
Candidate ProtectionJuvenile Deliquency ProtectionGuaranteed Student Loans
DC Visitors CenterFHA-VA Interest RateHealth Manpower
Eisenhower CollegeGun ControlsAid to Handicapped Children
Redwoods ParkFlaming Gorge Rec. AreaBiscayne Park
Heart, Cancer, & StrokeHazardous Radiation Protect'nCol. River Reclamation
Scenic RiversScenic TrailsNat'l Water Comm.
Federal MagistratesVocational EducationVeterans Pension Increase
North Cascades ParkInt'l Coffee AgreementIntergovernmental Manpower
Dangerous Drugs ControlMilitary Justice Code

Look at this list. A couple of things like the Civil Rights Act and the Voting Rights Act are positive goods. Some are tolerable, like Clean Air and clothes that won't turn into a funeral pyre make some sense, but why isn't the latter just part of consumer product safety? People want to point to FDR as walking all over the Constitution, and they've got a point, but it's LBJ who really took the ball and ran with it.

(The "anti-inflation" program is particularly touching.) Look at how the real monsters - Medicare, Medicaid (which isn't listed, and is probably under one of those Social Security expansions) are hidden in there. Look at how careful Johnson was to take care of the bureaucrats, increasing their pay, their benefits, and their pensions. Look at how much of a failure just about everything on the list has been. The multiple health initiatives haven't solved anything, but we'll be asked to pony up for more of the same. The education initiatives were passed - and continue to spend money - because of the same arguments we're hearing now. (Listing the DC School Board as an achievement must be some kind of a cruel joke. The one about Modern DC government is actually pretty funny.) There are four or five vocational education programs, but we're now calling for more. Look at how much is repetitive, and how much was done without waiting to see the results of prior experiments.

I doubt there's a single line-item here that's been repealed, but they're bankrupting the country 40 years later. They haven't solved a single problem, but the answer, naturally, is more of the same.

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