As a financial contributor to the Cato Institute, I get a bimonthly memorandum from the president and CEO of Cato, John A. Allison. In the latest one, he leads off with two paragraphs that sum up, beautifully succinctly, so much that is wrong with government policy. He writes:
I recently read an article in the Washington Times about a classic case of crony statism. The article concerned Coca-Cola's lobbying effort to ensure that soft drinks remain a qualified purchase under the food stamp program. Approximately $4 billion of the annual $80 billion food stamp program goes to buy soft drinks. Since the Democrats are enthused abut the growth rate of food stamps and the Republicans enjoy the support of big business, the irrationality continues.
Of course, soft drinks are not the worst use of food stamps. At the independent grocery store near where I live in downtown D.C., there is an active market to buy and sell food stamps. Apparently some food stamp recipients sell their stamps to get money to buy illegal drugs. Of course, we then arrest them for using drugs. After they have been imprisoned, they cannot get a job and need welfare and food stamps--a great plan. When government attempts to fill the role better served by private, voluntary institutions (in this case, charity), the outcome is never good.
In two short paragraphs, he takes on the drug war, forced transfers of income, paternalism, and cronyism.
There's one main thing I disagree with in the above: his use of one word that very many people in America misuse. If you want to know which word, read this.