The government’s favourite cash cow, taxation of petrol, has recently found a friend in the shape of proceeds from speed cameras. All around the country, unsuspecting motorists are being flashed by these anonymous boxes by the sides of the road, which annually generate millions of pounds for the Treasury.
Mastering the National Admissions Test for Law, Mark Shepherd (Routledge, 2013)
What is the "cash cow" as referenced here?
- (a) A cost for motorists
(b) A policy which is unpopular with everyone
(c) A policy which only the government likes
(d) A source of easy revenue for the government
(e) A policy driven by economics
(a) to (d): INCORRECT. See (e).
(e) CORRECT. Based both on the widely understood meaning of the phrase, and the context in which it is used (being likened to taxation on petrol, and being said to ‘generate millions of pounds for the Treasury’), it is apparent that ‘cash cow’ refers to an easy source of revenue for the government. It is also a cost for motorists and likely an unpopular policy, but these are the consequences of it being a cash cow, not the meaning of that expression itself.
I read the explanation above, but I still think that (d) is right. How is (d) only the consequences? I fail to perceive why the following is wrong: A 'cash cow' is (d). Of course, it can be other things too.