Tuesday, March 8, 2011

The wisdom of Fred Reed

Fred Reed is a favorite of mine. He's half blind. He's powered by Padre Kino, which, for those of you unfamiliar with it, is a Mexican wine. And he's among the most insightful people on the planet.

Fred's latest column has a description of our government, taxes, and the law, that I don't think can be topped.
What happens is that a government needs money, typically to do badly what it shouldn’t be doing in the first place, so Congress passes tax laws. These may at first inadvertently be simple, comprehensible, and tolerably light. Then the unscrupulous, and bureaucrats, who would be unscrupulous if they had the intelligence, discover that it is easier to have the government drain money from the people and give it to the sharpers than it is to work for a living. Taxes grow heavier to feed the growing number of trough-feeders.

The people who actually pay the taxes grow weary of playing udder to innumerable ticks and invent ingenious ways to avoid the taxation. Each new dodge inspires Congress to pass a new and more complex law to prevent people from keeping their money. Humans are ingenious when they feel someone else’s hand in their pockets. Thus regulations grow like kudzu on a Georgia road cut until you have three hundred shelf-feet of impenetrable law that no one understands, even the government. This is good for the ticks because when law metamorphoses into mysticism, the shifty can find loopholes. Meanwhile every special interest on the planet bribes Congress, which amounts to an inexplicably exalted garage-sale, to pass laws exempting the special interest. The result is an unworkable thicket infested with vipers, leeches, and hag fish. Hello.
There you have it. I can't think of a more apt description of the MCF that is Washington than Fred's vivid description.

But it's his last couple of paragraphs that put the exclamation mark on it.
These bureaucracies, like gunch plugging a coronary artery, like filth occluding a drain, get thicker and denser with time. The problems they were supposed to solve go away, but the bureaucrats remain, and hire more equally pointless crats so they can feel important, and the forms we have to fill multiply, and the administrative burden grows, and money and business leave the country.

More cosmetic bureaucracies spring up. We now have TSA, which couldn’t catch cholera in a sewage outfall in Mumbai, but it has a huge payroll and a degree of corruption that would make the sewage outfall a cause for nostalgia. And it will never go away. Nothing does in government.

I figure that what we need is to tear the whole sorry system down and see what comes next. The best hope is that a patriot will learn how to impel some unused interplanetary object, Phobos or Deimos or Ganymede maybe, into Washington at ninety percent of the speed of light. This would eliminate the teachers unions, the Pentagon, AIPAC, Fox News, Langley, the Washington Post, lobbies, and my mother-in-law. Cockroaches would doubtless survive, that being what they do best, and evolve into a civilization less degraded than ours, briefly.
Amen, brother. Amen.