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July 12, 2020

The Regulatory State: What Can't It Screw Up?

Henry David Thoreau said:

That government is best which governs least
Of course he also extrapolated that statement to:
That government is best which governs not at all
Which even for this anti-government guy is a bit much.

Even ignoring the anti-freedom and anti-liberty tendencies of government, there is a huge amount of government regulation that simply makes no sense, other than from the perspective of revenue or the protection of a favored group.

One man's fight to change an outdated, unjust occupational restriction in Iowa

The headline is just dumb. "Outdated" suggests that there used to be some legitimate reason for restricting this most benign of occupations...barbering...to stationary establishments. And the "unjust" part? I have no idea what that means. But illuminating the anti-competitive practices of government is always a good thing, so let us forgive the overwrought editorial excess.

Here's the embedded video, which is a pleasant little story of an ex-con who is doing something productive, but ran afoul of the regulatory state. His idea was simple, made a lot of sense, and seemed to satisfy an unmet demand. But government scolds had different ideas...

The Right Cut: A Barber Builds a Movement

I am reminded of my state's automobile inspection scheme, which is so obviously a sop to the unions and a feeble excuse to charge more for yearly registration. Modern cars are amazingly clean...their anti-pollution design and systems are robust and function perfectly, so why force people to get those systems checked periodically, especially since older cars get special dispensation? What's the point?

So much of our current government is a chaotic and dysfunctional combination of heavy-handed central control coupled with incompetence. I have asked this before, but is there anything that government does as well as the private sector? Ignoring national defense (more a function of funding and planning than competence) and a few large infrastructure projects (highways and such), I can't think of anything. Hell, when I was young and naive I used to think that the FBI was a paragon of investigative brilliance, but I think we can safely discard that quaint notion.

Do they do anything well? Other than sticking their noses in our business...


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posted by CBD at 12:00 PM

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