Government's 50 Greatest Endeavors

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Government's Greatest Achievements of the Past Half Century

In 2000, the Brookings Institution published a report that surveyed 450 history and political science professors to determine what the US Government's 50 Greatest Endeavors between 1944 and 1999. "Building upon previous research by congressional scholars such as Yale University's David Mayhew, this project identified 538 major statutes as a starting point for building the list of greatest endeavors." The report notes that: "The list of government's 50 greatest endeavors is best viewed as the product of a good-faith effort to identify the problems that the federal government tried hardest to solve over the past half century." [1]

Professor Joan Roelofs notes that "liberal foundations and their associated think tanks have major influence over policy"; therefore, she suggests that an important related research project might explore the impact of liberal foundations on the Brookings Institution's list of the "Government's 50 Greatest Endeavors". [2]

  • 1. Rebuild Europe After World War II
  • 2. Expand the Right to Vote
  • 3. Promote Equal Access to Public Accommodations
  • 4. Reduce Disease
  • 5. Reduce Workplace Discrimination
  • 6. Ensure Safe Food and Drinking Water
  • 7. Strengthen the Nation's Highway System
  • 8. Increase Older Americans' Access to Health Care
  • 9. Reduce the Federal Budget Deficit
  • 10. Promote Financial Security in Retirement
  • 11. Improve Water Quality
  • 12. Support Veterans' Readjustment and Training
  • 13. Promote Scientific and Technological Research
  • 14. Contain Communism
  • 15. Improve Air Quality
  • 16. Enhance Workplace Safety
  • 17. Strengthen the National Defense
  • 18. Reduce Hunger and Improve Nutrition
  • 19. Increase Access to Post-Secondary Education
  • 20. Enhance Consumer Protection
  • 21. Expand Foreign Markets for U.S. Goods
  • 22. Increase the Stability of Financial Institutions and Markets
  • 23. Increase Arms Control and Disarmament
  • 24. Protect the Wilderness
  • 25. Promote Space Exploration
  • 26. Protect Endangered Species
  • 27. Reduce Exposure to Hazardous Waste
  • 28. Enhance the Nation's Health Care Infrastructure
  • 29. Maintain Stability in the Persian Gulf
  • 30. Expand Home Ownership
  • 31. Increase International Economic Development
  • 32. Ensure an Adequate Energy Supply
  • 33. Strengthen the Nation's Airways System
  • 34. Increase Low-Income Families' Access to Health Care
  • 35. Improve Elementary and Secondary Education
  • 36. Reduce Crime
  • 37. Advance Human Rights and Provide Humanitarian Relief
  • 38. Make Government More Transparent to the Public
  • 39. Stabilize Agricultural Prices
  • 40. Provide Assistance for the Working Poor
  • 41. Improve Government Performance
  • 42. Reform Welfare
  • 43. Expand Job Training and Placement
  • 44. Increase Market Competition
  • 45. Increase the Supply of Low-Income Housing
  • 46. Develop and Renew Impoverished Communities
  • 47. Improve Mass Transportation
  • 48. Reform Taxes
  • 49. Control Immigration
  • 50. Devolve Responsibility to the States

Resources and articles

Related Sourcewatch

References

  1. Government's Greatest Achievements of the Past Half Century, Brookings Institution, accessed December 28, 2007.
  2. Joan Roelofs, Foundations and Public Policy: The Mask of Pluralism, (Albany: State University of New York Press, 2003), p.198.