Federal Subsidies Now Pervade Almost Everything

Local governments are now dependent on federal subsidies for even the smallest of programs and functions.

Chris Edwards February 07, 2019

Can’t anyone do anything in this country without federal subsidies?

A friend emailed me a local news story from Lancaster County, Pennsylvania: “Firefighter recruitment ads on hold due to funding because of government shutdown.” A Lancaster County government shutdown? Nope, the federal one:

As Pennsylvania faces a shortage of volunteer firefighters, funding to recruit them is being held up during the partial government shutdown. An advertisement distributed by the Lancaster County Fire Chiefs Association on TV, radio and social media is meant to recruit volunteer firefighters to Lancaster County’s 67 volunteer fire companies. … Duane Hagelgans, the Lancaster County Fire Chiefs Association spokesperson, says the government shutdown is holding up their federal grant money paying for those ads.

I love the voluntarism and heroism of volunteer firefighting agencies, which play a crucial role in many communities. Indeed, they play such a crucial role that local governments ought to cover their needed costs so that they are not dependent on the faraway and chaotic federal government. Citizens should know how much local services cost, and they should be willing to pay for those local services they really need.

Chris Edwards is the director of tax policy studies at Cato and editor of DownsizingGovernment.org.