Land of the Subsidized

Friday was an important day.  A day when the US crossed a threshold that it is looking less likely to cross back the other way on.  On Friday, January 22, 2010, the United States federal government put into full force of law its 2000th subsidy program.

This number may seem small but in reality, compared to the past, it is disturbingly large.  In the 70’s we were around 1000, this didn’t change much through the Nixon, Carter, Ford and Reagan years.  But between George Bush the first, Clinton and George Bush the second we managed to push that number up to 1,645.  Over 20 years. 

However, since the Democratic Congress took over from the Republicans, and then a Democratic President was elected, that number has exploded to over 2,000.  Data for this information can be found here.

People are upset about our debt, and they should be.  They are upset about our spending, and they should be.  But I wonder how many know just how many DIFFERENT subsidies that are handed out from the federal government (this does NOT include state or local governments)?

Do we really need this many?  What is the point of them all?  How many are trying to force people to live their lives as the politicians see fit instead of letting people live their lives as they want to?  How many are in response to previous programs that have created greater need but instead of being pulled back just needed some ‘tweaking’ with another program?

How many do you think the people who need them even know about them?  I recall one program put into place a year ago in response to the home mortgage ‘crisis’.  The program was set up to allow homeowners to renegotiate their mortgage.  After months of being available, it turned out <strong>ONE</strong> family had qualified and taken advantage of the program.  More people were going to private companies and renegotiating directly instead.  How much did that program cost us just to exist, staff and finally service a single family?

Who is doing the means testing?  Who is doing the cost/benefit analysis?  Who is performing the oversight while we continue to rack up trillions of dollars in debt that we have increasingly no hope of ever paying back, all the while spending billions on just the negotiations and talks around creating one of the largest new spending programs ever?

President Obama was going to get out his red pen.  I’m sure you all remember the promise.  I am thinking that he must have forgotten where he put it…

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