An op-ed in the Washington Post discusses why federal farm subsidies don’t even make sense from an activist government point of view. Most farm subsidies go for animal-feed crops, which can be viewed as a subsidy for meat production. At the same time, the government propagandizes the public to follow healthy habits and eat lots of fruit and vegetables, but not so much meat.
At www.DownsizingGovernment.org, we’ve come across many federal policies that are contradictory. The government tells the public that X is good, but then it takes actions to do the opposite. Here are some examples:
- Government health experts tell new moms to breastfeed, but the government spends billions of dollars a year on the WIC program, which subsidizes baby formula for moms.
- The government imposes strict rules on property owners to protect wetlands, but the government’s Corps of Engineers and Bureau of Reclamation have destroyed vast amounts of wetlands.
- The government enforces strict anti-pollution laws, but the Department of Energy and other federal agencies have been notorious polluters.
- The Corps of Engineers has spent billions of dollars building levees to protect against flooding, but its own infrastructure has worsened the damage caused by hurricanes.
- The government imposes tight rules to ensure proper funding and to prevent abuse in private pension plans, but its own “pension plan”—Social Security—is a Ponzi scheme.
- The Constitution says that the federal government is created to “insure domestic tranquility,” but the government has spurred violence with alcohol prohibition and now the drug war.
My Cato colleagues are probably aware of many other contradictions, and it seems that the more the government intervenes in society, the more it will work against both the people and itself.