Self-licking ice cream cone
In political jargon, a self-licking ice cream cone is a self-perpetuating system that has no purpose other than to sustain itself. The phrase appeared to have been first used in 1992, in On Self-Licking Ice Cream Cones, a paper by Pete Worden about NASA's bureaucracy. James A. Vedda described it as "Why do humans go into space? So we can go farther into space!"