Bureaucracy

Liberal Conformity and Times Square

Featured image In the course of doing some research for a longer writing project I had occasion this morning to re-read Lionel Trilling’s famous preface to The Liberal Imagination (1949), in which he observed: It is one of the tendencies of liberalism to simplify, and this tendency is natural in view of the effort which liberalism makes to organize the elements of life in a rational way. And when we approach liberalism »

Up Next: Drone Neutrality?

Featured image Apparently the FAA has FCC-envy over Net Neutrality, and wants to regulate even amateur drone flyers like me.  Now they’re saying you can’t post drone video footage to YouTube because YouTube has ads, dontchaknow, and that makes drone footage a commercial use.  From Motherboard: If you fly a drone and post footage on YouTube, you could end up with a letter from the Federal Aviation Administration. Earlier this week, the »

“Curse the Brilliant TSA!”

Featured image I had missed this wonderful bit from the comedy duo Key and Peele, which skewers both the TSA bureaucracy and Islamic terrorists all at once.  I can hardly believe this got by Comedy Central censors.  (Sharp-eyed viewers may note Wood Harris, aka “Avon Barksdale,” playing a key role here.)  Just four minutes long.  (Hat tip: PC.) »

The TSA Shouldn’t Mess With Remy

Featured image So the Transportation Security Administration thinks airport checkpoint lines are too slow, and has announced a contest offering up to $15,000 in prizes for ideas to speed up the lines.  (I can suggest one word: “Profiling.”  You can send the check to me courtesy Power Line, thank you.) But the TSA should have known this was coming, from our pal Remy Munasifi: »

Thoughts on Liberty on the Fifth of July

Featured image As we often do, we spent the 4th of July with our relatives in South Dakota. Independence Day is a good time to be in South Dakota, as the spirit of liberty shines a little brighter there than in some other precincts. This is manifested, in a small way, in the lavish fireworks displays that South Dakotans mount–not just towns, but individuals. People are not trusted with such dangerous explosives »

Prying My Beer from My Cold, Frothy Mug. . .

Featured image Jimmy Carter deserves credit for deregulating the airlines and trucking, but by far his most significant deregulatory effort was . . . craft beer, as we noted here in this video last year (sort of). But now in the Age of Obama, the dadgum guvmint regulators are back suppressing craft beer brewing once again: [T]he costs of complying with excessive regulations keep many aspiring brewers from starting businesses. They also »

Confirmed: The EPA Is Full of You-Know-What

Featured image So, what are those wacky folks at the EPA up to these days?  Writing regulations 38 times longer than the Bible?  Playing “Keeping Up with the IRS” in destroying emails that Congress has requested?  Worried about new forms of solid waste? If you guessed the last one, you’d be right.  More right than you might imagine.  Turns out EPA employees have been . . . pooping in EPA hallways.  Now, »

The Worst Monopolist: Uncle Sam

Featured image Concentrations of wealth and power are what keep liberals awake at night, but just once I’d like to hear a liberal notice, even glancingly, that the biggest unchecked concentration of wealth and power is the government.  Except the government doesn’t directly create much wealth itself (sell off federal assets—go ahead, make my day—and see how little of the total national debt it would actually retire), and increasingly it grabs power »

The Problem of the Administrative State, in One Paragraph

Featured image Scott’s mention below of the teachings of Publius in The Federalist about how our modern administrative state tramples all over the separation of powers has seldom been explained better in recent times than in this classic paragraph below from Boston University law professor Gary Lawson, in his 1994 Harvard Law Review article “The Rise and Rise of the Administrative State.”  Savor this with a nice snifter of whiskey: The [Federal Trade] »

Spindle Time, Mostly on Economics

Featured image The stock market sold off hard today, supposedly because of economic turmoil and devaluations in developing countries.  Perhaps this is so, though I usually discount the snap analysis in the media about what drives the daily moves of the overall market, as opposed to individual sectors where industry slumps or disruptions (housing and banking anyone?) are more comprehensible.  I wonder whether the market may be sliding because of the downgrades »

Mad As Hell Time

Featured image Last month we took notice of the case of John Beale, the highest paid employee at the EPA and climate change expert who hadn’t actually worked at the agency for nearly a decade, claiming instead to be a deep-cover CIA agent.  Beale was sentenced today to 32 months in prison (seems rather light) for what the government called “massive fraud.”  Somehow, however, none of the reporters following this story have »

Time for Oversight, Foresight, and Hindsight Hearings

Featured image Juliet Eilprin’s story in yesterday’s Washington Post about how the Obama administration delayed the rollout of numerous regulations to avoid controversy in the election ought to be a significant scandal: The White House systematically delayed enacting a series of rules on the environment, worker safety and health care to prevent them from becoming points of contention before the 2012 election, according to documents and interviews with current and former administration »

From cradle to grave, and beyond [UPDATED]

Featured image Fifty years ago, when the idea still seemed novel and overly intrusive, conservatives sometimes complained that the welfare state aimed to take care of Americans “from the cradle to the grave.” These days, however, the government is taking care of many Americans even after they reach the grave. The Washington Post reports that “in the past few years, Social Security has paid $133 million to beneficiaries who [are] deceased.” In »

It’s time for a time-out at the EPA

Featured image As Steve notes below, less than 7 percent of the EPA’s workforce is considered “essential,” in the sense of being permitted to work during the government shutdown. The message? The productive sector of our society needs to be harassed, but not on a daily basis. However, if John Brenner were still working for the EPA, he would probably be deemed part of the essential 6.6 percent. So would his close »

The wealth of Washington

Featured image During the tourist season here in Washington, D.C., it sometimes occurs to me that if our tourists drove around the many wealthy neighbors in the D.C. area, the reaction would cause the Tea Party movement of 2010 to look like an ordinary tea party. Such is the wealth of Washington. I had the same thought when I read this post by John Gabriel at Ricochet called “D.C. Incomes Boom While »

What’s the difference between government background checks and those by the private sector?

Featured image As part of its war on standards, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission is suing employers around the country for using the results of background checks to screen applicants for employment. The EEOC’s theory is that such screening excludes a disproportionate amount of Black applicants and, at least in the cases where EEOC sues, is not justified by business necessity. But the federal government screens applicants for employment. And given »

Now The Gov’t Wants to Regulate . . . Dinner Parties?

Featured image I suppose it was only a matter of time before the Bloombergians of the world decided to extend their regulatory impulses to . . . dinner parties.  The local CBS affiliate in New York reports on the crackdown on “illegal” dinner parties (with my commentary interpolated): NEW YORK (CBS 2) — As you sit down to dinner, this story illustrates eating out like you have never experienced before. We are talking »