Three examples of succesful programs are given below
1.) The US programs to alleviate hunger were initiated because
the private sector was not particular interested in feeding the hungry
and these programs actually worked reasonably well to reduce poverty and
2.) The US social security program, including aid to disabled and
elderly, was started precisely because the private sector did not provide
for these people and a very high percent were stuck in poverty. It has
been very successful and efficient in performing what it was set up to
do. (By the way, the stories about the supposed crises in the SS system
are unbelievable overkill in comparison to the relatively trivial nature
of the problem - for those interested in this, there is an interesting
article in the current issue of the New Yorker magazine).
3) The Canadian national health care system -with all its
problems- is a model of efficiency and equitable distribution of
resources - compared to the US "system" where approximately 1/3 of the
money is used for administration and profits and where many people are
not even covered by insurance and do not have access to adequate care.
The military program probably takes the cake for fraud and waste.
Somehow I haven't seen many advocates for dismantling social programs
because they are supposedly inefficient also calling for the dismantling
of the military!