And the Winner in the Human Events 10 Most Harmful Government Programs Goes To…


Heavy-duty Hit & Run commenter Mr. F Le Mur sends along this list of the 10 Most Harmful Government Programs, as compiled by the conservative cabal running Human Events. First, a note on the judging process:

This year, 38 panelists participated. They ranged from Larry Kudlow, host of CNBC's "Kudlow and Company," to Eagle Forum President Phyllis Schlafly, to FreedomWorks Chairman Dick Armey, to Concerned Women for America President Wendy Wright, to Center for Immigration Studies Director Mark Krikorian, to George Mason University Professor of Economics Walter Williams.

I won't tip what's number one–you get one guess–but will note some of the odder (IMO) choices: "contraceptive funding," "earmarking," and "Davis-Bacon." It's not that these are good by any stretch, but are they really the most harmful? And where o where is the drug war?

Whole list here. Explanation of judging process here.

NEXT: Indecisione 2006

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  1. Does the SCOTUS count as a government program?

  2. I failed to guess the top pick. I thought it would be the NEA.

  3. Most of them make sense, but contraceptive funding? I mean, really. Sure, the government shouldn’t be paying for that sort of thing, but at least it keeps people from making more people.

  4. Wait, wait, wait . . . you’re surprised that Schlafly et al. consider contraceptive funding among the Top 10 most harmful? Nick, Nick, Nick . . . it defies God. That’s why they put it on there. Meanwhile, to their ilk, the drug war is a good thing. This is why I will never, ever cast my lot with modern conservatives. Ever.

  5. Interestingly, the judges are all right wing Republican fanatics. Not even one intellectual moderate among them. Only a moron would consider this list unbiased and fair.

  6. Contraceptive funding ranks at #5, but BATFE harassment of legal gunsmiths doesn’t even rate a mention?


  7. You don’t often see the word “range” used that way.

    Wow, all the way from the Eagle Forum to CWA? OK, just as long as it isn’t a mutual admiration society or anything.

  8. More info, from an NRA lawyer at The High Road.

  9. I don’t know about worst government program, but certainly the one that had the greatest impact–I think it was a U.S. military program– is the program that developed and launched the internet.

  10. The best government program?

    The Birth of the Internet

    While computers were not a new concept in the 1950s, there were relatively few computers in existence and the field of computer science was still in its infancy. Most of the advances in technology at the time – cryptography, radar, battlefield communications – were due to military operations during World War II, and it was, in fact, government activities that led to the development of the Internet.
    On October 4, 1957, the Soviets launched Sputnik, man’s first foray into outer space, and the U.S. government under President Eisenhower subsequently launched an aggressive military campaign to compete with and surpass the Soviet activities. From the launch of Sputnik and the U.S.S.R. testing its first intercontinental ballistic missile, the Advanced Research Projects Agency (ARPA) was born. ARPA was the U.S. government’s research agency for all space and strategic missile research. In 1958, NASA was formed, and the activities of ARPA moved away from aeronautics and focused mainly on computer science and information processing. One of ARPA’s goals was to connect mainframe computers at different universities around the country so that they would be able to communicate using a common language and a common protocol. Thus the ARPAnet — the world’s first multiple-site computer network — was created in 1969.

    The original ARPAnet eventually grew into the Internet. The Internet was based on the concept that there would be multiple independent networks that began with the ARPAnet as the pioneering packet-switching network but would soon include packet satellite networks and ground-based packet radio networks.

    For further information on the origin of the Internet, see:

    A Brief History of the Internet
    A Brief Timeline of the Internet
    Short History of the Internet by Bruce Sterling

  11. This list really gives a sense of how effective Norquist’s campaign to coopt the Christian Right to the agenda of economic conservatives has been.

    Exactly one religious conservative boogeyman is on the list. Meanwhile, Social Security, Medicare, Rarm Subsidies and Medicaid – not one of which I’ve ever heard a “cultural right” type spout off angrily about – make the list. Completely absent, however, is AFDC/Welfare, which was by far the poster child of the “government aid to the poor undermines society” argument, but which is a much smaller part of the federal budget and imposes a much lower cost on business.

    Remember when “Focus on the Family” turned into “all tax cuts all the time” in 2001-2002? Absolutely a brilliant campaign by Norquist. No doubt he’ll spend many an afternoon mediating between the Aryan Brotherhood and the Latin Kings, and facilitating the cigarette trade, during his upcoming years in a federal pound me in the ass prison.

  12. Uri…no credit to Al Gore?

  13. I really liked how they made sure to point out when it was a Democratic President and a Dem Congress, but only once did they do Republican Prez, Republican Congress. The other times, they simply named the sponsors.

  14. Social Security has destroyed so many lives…so many dead bodies lie in its wake…

    What a stupid f’n list.

  15. My favorite was the cheap attempt to praise George Bush under the McCain-Feingold entry.

    “President George W. Bush, even while doubting its constitutionality, signed a law”

  16. What can you expect from a group of people that listed “The Feminine Mystique” as one of the most dangerous books ever but failed to include “The Turner Diaries?” I look forward to next year’s wingnut “ten worst” list. Very cheap entertainment.

  17. Contraceptive funding in a tie with farm subsidies…

    The credibility of the entire selection process may consequently be regarded as “nil.”

  18. Matt: Noting that Bush signed a law he believed was unconstitutional is not intended to praise him.

  19. I thought it was a pretty decent list until the ‘Contraceptive Funding’ part induced a massive eyeroll. I can just picture that bunch of prune-faced old scolds, wringing their hands over the horror (the horror, I tell you!) of 16-year-olds (gasp!) having sex. 16-year-olds have been having sex for how long??? And those guys haven’t gotten used to the idea yet? At least the little twerps are using birth control now. And yeah, like they’re going to tell their parents. Oh sure, my parents are the people I discuss ALL the details of my sex life with! Where’s that clue-by-four so I can hit those people over the head with it? I have to agree with Phil. Conservatives were pretty cool until they became infected by the god-botherers. Now that they don’t even try to reduce the size of government anymore, what good are they?

  20. So partisan it’s not worth my time.

  21. The objection to the “contraceptive funding” program is to the funding of contraception by the federal government, not the existence of contraceptives themselves, or to teenagers having access to rubbers. Not surprising that many hair-trigger commenters here can’t seem to tell the difference. However, agreement that this is pretty small potatoes when you compare it with the sinkhole that is the drug war.

  22. Don, I didn’t get that impression when I read the commentary posted on their site. Their biggest gripes were that parents were uninformed and the proximity to abortion providers at the clinics. I don’t think it’s my job as a taxpayer to buy anyone else’s condoms either, but it certainly doesn’t fall in the ring anywhere close to Social Security.

  23. Hmm. Now, I’m for Social Security thing, and I’m as against farm subsidies as the next libertarian, but you’d think forced Indian relocation would have made the list SOMEwhere…

  24. Wow, I smoke wayy too much pot. “Social Security thing” was supposed to read “Social Security reform.”

  25. Don, if you can find me one instance of any of the people on that list not opposing teen sex ed programs, or access to contraceptives generally, or the use of artificial contraception, or anything but abstinence-only education, I will PayPal you $5.

  26. Um, war?

    What’s it good for?

  27. … absolutely nothing?

  28. Huh, say it again y’all.

  29. War is good for destroying your enemies and increasing the profits of defense contractors.

  30. Don, if you can find me one instance of any of the people on that list not opposing teen sex ed programs, or access to contraceptives generally, or the use of artificial contraception, or anything but abstinence-only education, I will PayPal you $5.

    Without checking the list very far at all: David Boaz, Chris Edwards, and Michael Cannon, for starters.

    You can PayPal your $5 to the Reason Foundation.

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