Not at the expense of the taxpayer they didn't. Of course this 'simpler time' that so many seem to long for, the government wasn't taking much money (if any at all) from your paycheck to make things 'better' for someone else.
You’re onto something there. It just seems to me that as painful as it may be in the short term, in the long term as a society we are all far better off not subsidizing stupidity, and to add insult to injury, punishing hard work, thrift, playing by the rules, etc. This dynamic is now so pervasive and insidious that it cannot be a matter of accident but of conscious design.