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America's Barnacled Budget

By George Will, Washington Post - August 16, 2015

You probably never knew of the federal funding of museums commemorating America’s long-gone whaling industry. The funding existed for nearly nine years, until fiscal 2011, because almost no one knew about it. A mohair subsidy continues six decades after it was deemed a military necessity in the context of the Cold War. The subsidy survives because its beneficiaries are too clever to call attention to it by proclaiming it necessary, which of course it isn’t. To understand these two matters is to understand how American government functions. And why James Madison, whose flinty realism is often called pessimism, was too optimistic.

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