Saturday, August 20, 2011

Who was an early builder of a national highway network? Who started federal funding of maternal and children's health?

Eisenhower Interstate Highway System on highways? Nope.
Clinton's CHIP program on maternal and children's health? Nope.

Warren Harding on both counts (and it wasn't even an election year - it wasn't even a mid-term year!).

Eisenhower was involved in the first decision to some extent. Following in the proud footsteps of Lewis and Clark, he took a presidentially sanctioned road-trip in 1919 to test out the quality of the roads. Eisenhower gave them a thumbs down. Wilson had provided some road funding in 1916, but it wasn't much and the war disrupted its progress. Harding put a lot more money into it in November, 1921, and tens of millions of dollars of construction went on until 1923.

The second decision is a reference to another law passed in November, 1921, to give money to the states to set up maternal and infant health clinics. It established over 3,000 clinics until it was finally shut down in 1929 over accusations that it was socialist.


  1. SCHIP crowds out private insurance.

    As for the highways, there is and remains a lot of boondoggly goodness in them because there is not a close enough nexus between roads and the people who use them.

  2. You mean competes with private insurance? That seems right. I don't see how it would crowd out private insurance.

  3. There is a Cato analysis of SCHIP's effect.

  4. And yeah, just like with federal water projects, I am very skeptical of the government's actual performance when it comes to the interstate highways.

  5. Roads have historically been built by the state only to procure tax revenue easier. The lower classes in european history have generally disliked having road access to the rest of society.


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