Speaker Boehner and Majority Leader Cantor have lately been squawking that there’s no way the government needs new tax revenue when it’s still wasting money on smoking machines, video games, and free phones for the poor.
Jonathan Chait smashes those arguments to bits.
You see, Mr. Speaker, if you want to study the effects of smoking, you could kidnap some unsuspecting person and force-feed him Marlboros. But the scientific community finds this approach unethical, so machines to test the effects of smoking on mice are considered a standard work-around.
It’s a grant from the National Science Foundation to test the hypothesis that some cognitive loss owing to old age can be slowed through certain video games. (“The theory is that the strategy, memory and problem-solving skills necessary for mastering certain games may translate to benefits in the real world, beyond a glowing computer screen.”)
The free phones for the poor? Yep, guilty as charged. The program began under Ronald Reagan and was expanded by George W. Bush
to ensure that all Americans have access to telephone services. More specifically, it provides discounted service through phone carriers to low-income households, so individuals can effectively connect to jobs, family and first responder services.
It’s like they’re not even trying to persuade anyone other than their own voters anymore.