Not every idea that's good for the country is a profit-making idea for some company somewhere. It's never going to be a profitable venture for some company to come up with this idea [pointing to a railroad bridge] and build it on spec. That's not gonna happen! It needs some government leadership frankly to get something done in common that's gonna benefit the country as a whole.
Let me say this can involve very activist govemment. The era of Republican domination back between 1856 and 1932 was a period of tremendous government experimenting, a period of building the transcontinental railroad without having a Department of Railroad, a period of encouraging homesteading through the Homestead Act, a period of the agricultural college and the Monill Act which led to the land-grant colleges and the agricultural agent system. -- Congressional Record, November 3, 1983, p. 30875.
The government that promulgated the Homestead Act, offered subsidies for the Transcontinental Railroad, and developed the land-grant college system to modernize farming must reassert its rightful role as developer of incentives for change. Conservatives who resist this active government role must be reminded that you cannot keep Panama Canals unless you first build them. -- Window of Opportunity, 1984, p. 144.
American history offers us great models of leadership. Just read the biography of Benjamin Franklin. He is an inventor of self-government: the creator of our public library, post office, and volunteer fire department. The list of his social inventions includes many that are volunteer or local, some that are national. Look at every great wave of American activism, and think about what it changed ... Opening up the West: government paid for Lewis and Clark's expedition. Building the Panama Canal all of us wanted to keep? We invented a nation, built a canal, manned the canal, cured yellow fever, and had a Navy to protect it. -- "Building the Conservative Movement After Ronald Reagan," Heritage Foundation, August 28, 1988.
Well, let me say, first of all, I agree almost entirely with the first two-thirds of your "Talking Points." But then you go off on this -- total giving up on government, which I think is just wrong. And I think frankly is un-American. We have a long history in America that government can do a lot of things. And government can be successful in a lot of ways. And I think that government sometimes does it by incentives. We built the Transcontinental Railroad. We sometimes do it directly. We built the Panama Canal. -- Interview with Bill O'Reilly, September 6, 2005.
In the 1930s, the Federal Housing Administration and later similar agencies opened manageable mortgages and homeownership to average-income working people. With hard, consistent work to meet the monthly payments, average-income families could own their own homes. Incredibly, home ownership rates have remained above 60 percent since 1960." -- Real Change, 2009, p. 155.
The people who get on their computer to access the internet to send a note to their friends about the dangers of big government are using a device developed by the U.S. government - a computer, with an interface developed by U.S. government grants, what we then called the (Defense Department's) Advanced Research Projects Agency, in order to access a worldwide system (also) developed by the Advanced Research Projects Agency. -- quoted in The Concord Monitor, December 5, 2011