From the Weekly Standard comes today’s maddening news from the federal government. Amtrak, which is unable to survive without a huge annual subsidy, courtesy of those of us who pay federal taxes, is offering “free” stuff.

The federally subsidized railroad service Amtrak is offering up to 24 writers the chance to take a 2-5 day trip aboard a train for free. It’s all part what is being called the “#AmtrakResidency program.” 

“Amtrak is excited to announce the official launch of the #AmtrakResidency program,” reads theprogram description.

Thank you to the Weekly Standard for linking to this CBO report, which lays out the reality of all this “free” stuff — “free” stuff which cost federal taxpayers more than $15 billion in 2013.

All told, the government covers almost all of Amtrak’s capital costs as well as more than 10 percent of its operating costs. In 1970, when the Congress established Amtrak, it anticipated subsidizing the railroad for only a short time, until it became self-supporting. Since then, however, the federal subsidies to Amtrak have totaled about $45 billion. 

Remember — it’s “free”!