Federal Subsidy Programs on the Rise - The American Spectator | USA News and Politics
Federal Subsidy Programs on the Rise

My Cato Institute colleague Chris Edwards points to one of the areas where federal spending is out of control:

Most people know that federal spending and budget deficits are soaring. But an equally troubling trend is that the government is funding a growing array of activities that used to be left to state governments, businesses, charities, and individuals. An increasing part of American society is suckling on the federal subsidy teat.  

 The accompanying chart shows that there are 1,804 federal subsidy programs, and hundreds of these were added this decade. The data comes from the Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance (www.cfda.gov), an official listing of all federal subsidies, including grants, loans, insurance, scholarships, and other types of benefits.  

The CFDA was created in the 1960s because politicians needed a guide to help their constituents access all the new benefits under Great Society programs. By 1970, there were 1,019 federal subsidy programs, and the number rose further in late-1970s before being cut back in the early 1980s under President Ronald Reagan.  

The number of subsidies started expanding again in the late-1980s, but leveled out in the late-1990s as Congress briefly restrained the budget. This decade, budget restraint has vanished and the number of subsidy programs has exploded 25 percent.

As in so many other areas, Republicans are as complicit as Democrats in making Americans dependent on government.  It would be nice if the GOP “listening tour” caused party officials to actually put our money where their mouths are, so to speak, when it comes to fiscal responsibility.

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