Once these bureaucracies expand, good luck trimming them back. They’re apt to be as temporary as the New Deal “Rural Development Utilities Programs.” Its mission to electrify rural America was completed decades ago, yet it still exists.
Politicians think they can palm most anything off as “stimulus.” An early version of the bill, for example, included hundreds of millions for contraceptives. “The family planning services reduce cost,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi explained while defending the plan on ABC, “to the states and to the federal government.” That’s arguable at best.
Still, even if that were true, reducing the birthrate would be a pretty slow-motion way of reducing federal costs. It would be faster and more efficient to axe a department or two instead.
Luckily, the contraception spending was axed once people became aware of it. That proves that, when the public pays attention -- and complains -- lawmakers will do the right thing.
Hopefully it’s the beginning of a trend.