“I am from the government and I am here to help you” is one of the three biggest lies, or so the old joke goes. Richard J. Gelles, dean of social policy at University of Pennsylvania, explains why government programs designed to cure social ills don’t work in sector after sector…and never could work. He demonstrates how each creates its own bureaucracy to monitor participation in the program, an entrenched administrative apparatus whose needs supersede those for whom the program was designed. Against this, he contrasts universal programs such as the GI Bill, Social Security, and Medicare, the most successful, sustained government programs ever established. Gelles’s provocative, controversial proposal for a universal entitlement to replace a raft of lumbering social programs should be read by all in social services, policy studies, and government.