Why Government Doesn’t Work, No Matter Who Runs It
The other reason government will always malfunction – besides the logical impossibility of sensible spending – has to do with a politician’s brain.
“What brain?” you say. Alas, it’s worse than a joke. Taken one by one, politicians are of dull-normal intelligence. But when you put politicians together in government, you get committees. In Congress they even come right out and call the committees “committees.”
You’ve been on committees… You know what happens to intelligence and common sense when a person becomes a committee member – Committee Brain.
You live in a neighborhood with a playground. The kids in the neighborhood would like to play tetherball, but the playground has no tetherball pole. A committee is formed to raise funds for tetherball – Committee to Raise Funds for Tetherball, “CRFT.”
CRFT is started by a group of pleasant, enthusiastic, public-spirited neighbors. The minute any of these neighbors becomes a member of CRFT, he or she will begin to express his or her pleasant, enthusiastic public spirit by turning into one of the following:
“We have to draw up a charter and form a nonprofit corporation with a chairman, a president, vice president, secretary, treasurer, development officer, and human resources executive. And the tetherball pole has to be exactly four meters high in accordance with the North American Amateur Tetherball Association rules.”
The Dog in the Manger
“We need to get permission from the County Zoning Board, the City Council, the Parks Department, and adjacent landowners who may complain about tetherball noise. That part of the playground is too damp for tetherball. It might be federally protected wetlands. We can’t do any fundraising without advertising. We can’t advertise without raising funds. The kids would rather have a tennis court.”
The Person Who Is Stupid Even by Committee Brain Standards
“So the rope has… like… a ball on it?”
“….padded pole, break-away tether, a light-weight foam ball, and a ban on playing after dark or when visibility is poor, and when the sun is shining, to avoid UV skin cancer damage. The kids should wear helmets and kneepads and safety belts.”
The Person With Ideas
“Let’s set up a challenge grant to erect a second tetherball pole in the inner city. Midnight Tetherball could be an alternative to crime for deprived youth. We can also promote tetherball as a way to combat child obesity, which would make us eligible for funding from the Gates Foundation. We’ll have a tetherball league – no, three – Adults, Juniors, and ‘Tether Tots.’ This could be a great Title IX thing. If our daughters are varsity-level tetherball players, they’ll get into Yale.”
The Person With Ideas, None of Which Have Anything to Do With Tetherball
“Is the tether biodegradable? Is the pole made from recycled materials? Many playground balls are manufactured in third-world countries using exploitative child labor. Let’s be sure to utilize organic fertilizer and indigenous plant species when seeding the tetherball play area.”
The Bossy Person
Who says the same thing as everyone else on the committee, but louder.
The Person Who Won’t Shut Up
Who says the same thing as everyone else on the committee, but more often.
The Person Who Won’t Show Up
Unless his or her vote is crucial, in which case he or she shows up and votes the wrong way.
You actually do all the work and call 40 people and ask them each to donate $20, and half of them do, and you raise the $400 needed only to find out you need $400,000.
Because the House of Representatives’ Economic and Educational Opportunities Committee’s Select Committee on Opportunities in Physical Education’s Subcommittee on Americans With Disabilities Act Compliance requires all tetherballs to be wheelchair-accessible no matter how high the tetherballs fly in the air.
Given the complete dominance of government by Committee Brain, the wonder is that anything gets done, and the horror is that it does. What government accomplishes is what you’d expect from a committee.
“A camel is a horse designed by a committee” is a saying that couldn’t be more wrong. A camel is a seeing-eye dog designed by a committee and available as a federal entitlement to people who can see perfectly well but who can’t walk.
Miss Lesson I? Click here.