Big Dave observes…
Augustus Caesar describes in his own words the result of an action he took for a temporary food shortage in Rome; he expelled all who were not citizens, including recently freed slaves, current slaves who had been brought to the slave market, gladiators at the schools, and all foreigners (illegal immigrants?) except physicians and teachers. He reduced the number of those who “did not belong”, technically speaking, to Rome, got rid of them, sent them away. This eventually turned around the grain supply problem by addressing it on the demand end. Augustus then shares his thoughts–
“I had a good mind to discontinue permanently the (free) supply of grain to the city, reliance on which had discouraged Italian (that is, domestic) agriculture; But I refrained, on the grounds that if I ended the dole, some politician would be bound one day to revive it as a means of ingratiating himself to the people.” from “The Twelve Caesars”, Suetonius, AD 121.
Augustus was emperor for 57 years, beginning after Julius Caesar’s assassination by the Senate on the Ides of March in 43 BC all the way through 14 AD. In his time, the city of Rome had over a million inhabitants and the Empire was home to over 60 million people.
…. and the mighty Emperor of all Rome was trapped by the power wielded by politicians giving away free stuff. He didn’t like doing it, felt it harmed productivity and independence and future generations, but.. he knew if he didn’t do it, someone else would do it to get votes and public support, and it would be support for Caesar’s opposition because Caesar was against the dole. So… Caesar continued the dole. He had to live with politics, because his uncle’s death showed that power-sharing was necessary to avoid being murdered by politicians jealous of your power.
Status quo, lesser of two evils. The dole continued. As Admiral Akhbar says in Star Wars, “IT’S A TRAP”.
Caesar was a beltway Republican in a world defined by Democrats. He HAD to continue the dole, or it would be turned into a weapon against him that he could not defeat.
“There is nothing new under the sun.” — Solomon.