It’s safe to say that America is a far more progressive country than it was 100 years ago. Our legislation has progressed from a few axiomatic documents to a sophisticated library of bills covering a vast, diverse and intricate range of issues. It’s pretty exciting to think about how much progress we’ve made. But what’s even more exciting is that legislation is now being passed faster than ever with legislative innovations such as relaxed use of the executive order, international governing institutions and supercommittees. Advancement in government legislation was the primary driver for economic growth over the last 100 years, and at the rate at which governing institutions are optimizing the modern economy, the possibilities are endless. This article reviews three of the most outstanding legislative achievements of the last 100 years.
The Great Society Programs
The great society programs were constructed by some of the most forward-thinking politicians of their time. The goal of the legislation was to eliminate poverty and inequality in America. The acts were founded on the novel concept of a “safety net”, which protected those who fell through the cracks by providing them with a decent standard of living and taking care of their basic needs. These acts were the foundation for many of today’s innovative poverty programs such as SNAP, EBT and the Community Reinvestment Act. Poverty programs now form the basis for America’s increasingly liberal economy, giving Americans a warm sense of security in the knowledge that they are safe in the event of a layoff or bankruptcy.
The Patriot Act
The patriot act revolutionized the way we think about terrorism. After 911, congress knew that we needed to drastically improve our national security. At the time legislators were largely powerless to fight against the onslaught of terror threats. Suspicious activity went unnoticed and terrorists boarded planes, plotted over telephone lines and bought dangerous chemicals all in broad daylight. The patriot act gave our officials the tools they needed to finally tackle terrorism in a meaningful way. All of a sudden suspicious activity was unveiled to anti-terror operatives with the power to tap phone lines and search emails. Terrorists were forced to retreat to more obscure and costly forms of communication such as encrypted messaging protocols. The patriot act was well overdue at the time, and has produced a safer society despite the increase in both foreign and domestic terror risk.
The Affordable Care Act
The affordable healthcare act is the product of many decades of social progress. Universal healthcare has been a primary goal of progressive Americans for at least fifty years, but it is only recently that progressive thinking has reached the critical mass necessary to pass this legislation. Although the affordable healthcare act is a historical achievement for progressive America, it is only the beginning. Canada and European countries have free healthcare, allowing people to get the treatment they need on demand at no cost whatsoever. Canadians and Europeans are shocked by America’s backward healthcare system, and progressive Americans feel an immense embarrassment that it has taken so long to pass this legislation. However, the passing of this act calls for celebration, and hopefully over the next few years progressives will build on this success so that future generations of Americans can experience the progressive dream of universal healthcare.