What if I told you that the government could tax you, then shut down your ability to pay the taxes, then provide you the funds to keep operating, but then tax you an extra amount on the funds they sent you. Sounds ridiculous, right? I heard a relevant term for the first time in a military briefing. Someone briefed the commander on issues that seemed to be self-perpetuating and self-glorifying. The response?
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In political jargon, a self-licking ice cream cone is a self-perpetuating system that has no purpose other than to sustain itself. Vedda described it as "Why do humans go into space? So we can go farther into space! Since then, the term has been used to describe the habit of government funded organisations and programs spending taxpayer money to lobby for more funding from the taxpayer. Other things compared have included financial bubbles , chatshows and reality television. In The Irish Times , Kevin Courtney observed that "many organisations are also stuck in limbo, destined to keep lurching on without ever achieving their stated goal. Richard Hoggart used the term to describe certain United Nations programmes.