Once started, government programs take on a life of their own. They set up their offices, hire or transfer employees, and go about their mission. Sometimes they get reviewed. If they’re succeeding in their mission they get more money to expand. If they don’t appear to be accomplishing their purpose they get more money to try harder. If they become politically popular they get even more money regardless of their success rate. A prime example is Head Start, a politically popular program that has had no demonstrable positive effect on a child’s success later in school. It’s popular because it gives the appearance that the government is doing something, and it provides free babysitting for welfare moms.
Every program should have mandatory reviews and a sunset clause If they’re not performing up to expectations. Review each program at two to five years, depending upon the program’s time frame for expected results. If it isn’t performing give it only one budget increase to try to save it. Review each program again at another two to five years. If there’s no measurable accomplishment, the sun sets, the office closes up, and no more tax dollars are wasted.
If a program has a specific purpose, such as to boost the economy during a recession, it should automatically be canceled when the condition that motivated it ends. Political popularity is not a good reason to spend tax dollars.