I just can't get over the infinite naivete of the progressive mind in its belief that spending government money to fix a problem will actually fix the problem. Can anybody name a single example where that has ever occurred? Actually, it is completely impossible for a government agency to fix the problem it is supposed to address, because fixing the problem would run directly counter to the fundamental imperative of all bureaucratic agencies, which is to grow the agency and its staff and budget. Bureaucratic agencies do not operate contrary to their fundamental imperative. Period.
As just the tiny example for the day, consider the case of TSA and its airport security screening mission. Think about the subject for as long as three seconds, and you will realize that forcing the public to wait in long and unpleasant lines is the surest way for TSA to put pressure on Congress and the President to grant it more staff and a bigger budget. Suppose they get a big budget increase; what then? The answer is that things may improve marginally for a few months, but then will immediately revert to the norm of long and unpleasant waits. Hey, the tactic worked once! Of course they will do it again!
And yet there we have the lead editorial of the New York Times today, "Safe Ways To Shorten Airport Security Lines." And what, pray tell, is the answer? Easy: Give TSA more money! And more staff! And not just that:
In addition to more money, the T.S.A. needs greater flexibility to increase spending when demand for air travel surges. For example, Congress should allow the department to tap into more of the money the government collects from a security tax levied on tickets when traffic grows faster than projected. In the past, Congress has diverted some of that revenue to the general fund. . . . [Also,] give local T.S.A. managers the power to spend more money on overtime during busy periods without consulting headquarters.
OK, you knew that was going to be the answer, because for the New York Times, more government money is the answer to every known human problem. And what about the evidence that government spending always and everywhere makes worse the problems that it is supposed to solve? Please, we can't be troubled looking at actual evidence.
Along similar lines but on a more consequential scale, David Horowitz's Frontpage Magazine today has an article by John Perazzo titled "How The Liberal Welfare State Destroyed Black America." It's a familiar story, often discussed here, but it needs to be repeated endlessly because with anything less than endless repetition it just doesn't ever seem to sink in. Perazzo runs through evidence of how the massive liberal welfare state launched with the War on Poverty in the 60s -- $22 trillion in spending (constant 2012 dollars) over about 50 years! -- has made things worse for the black family on literally every dimension. He covers the famiiar litany of poverty, child poverty, decline in marriage, and explosion in illegitimacy, particularly emphasizing improvements in these metrics pre-War on Poverty followed by precipitous deterioration post-War on Poverty.
During the nine decades between the Emancipation Proclamation and the 1950s, the black family remained a strong, stable institution. Its cataclysmic destruction was subsequently set in motion by such policies as the anti-marriage incentives that were built into the welfare system. As George Mason University professor Walter E. Williams puts it: “The welfare state has done to black Americans what slavery couldn't do, what Jim Crow couldn't do, what the harshest racism couldn't do. And that is to destroy the black family.”
However, progressives get to feel really good about themselves because the government is spending boatloads of someone else's money to address the problem.