The days of just fronting up at a port of entry into Indonesia, handing over your passport, and getting a 60-day visitor visa are long gone. The old system has been replaced with a visa on arrival system. The Visa on Arrival or VOA was Indonesia's move towards reciprocity, namely: if it is free for Indonesians to travel to your country then it will be free for you to travel to ours.
Charging a VOA fee was also a simple and easy way to create a cash revenue stream into state coffers. At USD 25 for a 30-day tourist visa it is not all that expensive and it does not involve all of the form-filling that one must do when the roles are reversed and Indonesians are traveling abroad. It is also pretty much sans any risk in comparison to most places that Indonesians travel where they are required to submit a form, pay an exorbitant non-refundable fee, and then pray that the visa gods shine on them.
The VOA system may have its flaws but if we are to draw comparisons with the costs and bureaucracy of other visa systems, then the VOA system is not so bad. Then again I have never had to get one :D