Why is it so hard to reduce federal spending? Even the most seemingly expendable federal agencies somehow find allies, even among putative conservatives. So, of all places, the Heritage Foundation fetches up defending taxpayer funding of the U.S. Institute of Peace, contending:
There is, no doubt, a need to balance the federal budget and cut unnecessary programs. The Institute of Peace is not one of them. Congress should think carefully before defunding such a vital think tank.
The U.S. Institute of Peace didn't even exist before 1984, and now it has more than 300 paid staff members, a roughly $38 million annual budget, and a $186 million headquarters building constructed with $100 million in taxpayer funds. Somehow, peace managed to exist in the world and America before 1984 even without a federal agency devoted to it. Heritage may well be correct that this isn't the best place to cut. But the scale of the expenditures, and the confusion of spending on something and creating agencies to pursue it ("Peace") with actually achieving progress toward it, suggest that, as matter of symbolism, it might not be the worst move to eliminate the agency and allow peace to be pursued instead by the private sector, by the State Department, and by the Defense Department.