Similarly, the record of government planning in the United States is fraught with internal inconsistencies. The federal government both subsidizes tobacco growers and propagandizes against smoking. It pays some farmers not to produce grain products and, at the same time, subsidizes others with irrigation projects so they can grow more of the very same grain products. Government programs for dairy farmers keep the price of milk high, while its subsidies to the school lunch program make the expensive milk more affordable. Government regulations mandating stronger bumpers make automobiles safer, while the governments Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standards make them lighter and more dangerous. Both increase the cost of automobiles.
Those who think that central planning will promote economic progress are naive. When business enterprises get more funds from governments and less from consumers, they will spend more time trying to satisfy politicians and less time satisfying customers. Predictably, this reallocation of resources will lead to economic regression rather than prosperity.
- James Gwartney and Richard Stroup ( What Everyone Should Know About Economics and Prosperity)
(H/T: Cafe Hayek)