Jul 13, 2012

Prof. Paul Light Makes the Case for a Strong Central Government in New Book

Paul Light, the Paulette Goddard Professor of Public Service at NYU Wagner, has written an essay for a newly published book. In the piece he contends that, for all the low levels of trust the federal government inspires in contemporary public-opinion surveys, it has played a helpful role in American life, ranging from transportation and housing to the environment and the arts.

In the book To Promote the General Welfare: The Case for Big Government, edited by Professor Steven Conn of Ohio State (published by Oxford University Press), Light's chapter is titled “From Endeavor to Achievement and Back Again: Government’s Greatest Hits in Peril.” The essay recounts 50 pieces of legislation that reveal what he calls “a good-faith effort to identify the problems that the federal government tried hardest to solve over the past half century.”

“These efforts are extraordinarily wide-ranging—from advancing human rights to helping veterans readjust to civilian life; from protecting the consumers to protecting the environment,” writes Light. “All but a handful of the 50 endeavors involve closely related sets of laws organized around a consistent strategy for addressing a focused problem, such as crime, water quality, or arms control and disarmament.”


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