How in the world, you might ask, has the United States morphed into a massive welfare state along with a $3.5 trillion federal budget? The Cato Institute’s Michael Tanner answers that it’s not just that we constantly add new government programs, but that Washington is incapable of doing away with the programs in place. They become the living dead.
For example, in 1898 a tax on long-distance calls was enacted to help pay for the Spanish-American War. When was it repealed? 2006. In 1954, Congress gave wool and mohair subsidies to farmers as “strategic material” because it was used to make military uniforms. But it was not until 1993 that Congress awoke to the fact that military uniforms were made from synthetic fibers. So when did Congress kill the subsidies? It hasn’t. This year’s farm bill extends the wool and mohair subsidies until at least 2018 to the taxpayer tune of $5 million.
As Mr. Tanner points out about government programs, “No matter how outdated useless, wasteful or redundant programs may be, they come as close to immortality as possible.” Read more here about our government at work.