Tagged Big Government

Your Government at Work (Social Security Outrages Continue)

Remember this? Sure you do. Guess what? It’s still happening: The Social Security Administration, which announced in April that it would stop trying to collect debts from the children of people who were allegedly overpaid benefits decades ago, has continued to demand such payments and now defends that practice in court documents. After The Washington Post reported in April that the Treasury Department had confiscated $75 million in tax refunds due to about 400,000 Americans whose ancestors owed money to Social Security, the agency’s acting commissioner, Carolyn Colvin, said efforts to collect on those old debts would cease immediately. But although some people whose…

When Busybodies Attack

Apparently, you can’t be a little Floridian kid with a lemonade stand without some “grownup” reporting you to state government officials. You’d think that people would have better things to do than to hassle children, but alas, that just doesn’t seem to be the case. The good news is that “[s]heriff’s deputies have declined” to shut down the offending lemonade stand in question. The bad news is that in doing so, Florida state law enforcement officials have proven themselves to be the exception, and not the rule.

Quote of the Day

Environmental Protection Agency workers have done some odd things recently. Contractors built secret man caves in an EPA warehouse, an employee pretended to work for the CIA to get unlimited vacations and one worker even spent most of his time on the clock looking at pornography. It appears, however, that a regional office has reached a new low: Management for Region 8 in Denver, Colo., wrote an email earlier this year to all staff in the area pleading with them to stop inappropriate bathroom behavior, including defecating in the hallway. In the email, obtained by Government Executive, Deputy Regional Administrator Howard Cantor mentioned “several incidents” in…

Virginia Is for Cartels

Do you want there to be competition and diversity in limousine/ride-sharing/taxicab services? Do you live in Virginia? If the answer to both questions is “yes,” then it sucks to be you. Of course, it shouldn’t suck to be you, but this is what happens when government is too large and too powerful, and when it uses its power to cater to the interests of cartels at the expense of consumers. Key passage: Rather than hinder the growth of innovative livery companies that are taking advantage of new technology, lawmakers in Virginia and elsewhere across the country should consider repealing current…

Let’s All Please Stop Allying with Crazy People

I am going to give the microphone to Jonathan Tobin so that he can preach some righteous truth at all of us: You may have noticed that among the many and varied topics touched upon by COMMENTARY writers in recent weeks, none of us chose to weigh in on the Bundy Ranch controversy that attracted so much notice on cable news, talk radio, and the blogosphere. The reason was that none of us considered the standoff between a Nevada tax scofflaw and the federal government over grazing rights fees to rise to the level of an issue of national interest.…

Uber and UberX Help People Get Jobs

Here is the story. And here is the part where I ask (again) why it is that so many protectionists are willing to try to sabotage Uber and UberX, and by extension, sabotage the lives of those who depend on Uber and UberX to put food on the table and a roof over their heads and the heads of their loved ones.

Outrage of the Day

You have to be kidding: With all the restrictions on selling and marketing food, it’s easy to forget that even sharing food is sometimes still a crime. Despite my own stated optimism last year, it appears that bans on sharing food with the homeless and less fortunate won’t be going away any time soon. Last week, Scott Keyes, a senior reporter with the progressive news site ThinkProgress, reported on the idiotic outcome of one of the latest of such bans. In that case, the city of Birmingham, Ala. has barred a local pastor from sharing food with the homeless from…

On Why We Are Told that We Are the Government and the Government Is Us

Read Kevin Vallier on the subject, as he responds to Barack Obama’s claims that “the government is us,” and makes a host of interesting points in response, including the following: To vindicate the idea that the government “is us” in some interesting fashion requires a lot of heavy philosophical lifting. You have to do all of the following: (1) Define the idea of a general will or collective will in a plausible fashion. (2) Show that the idea does not contain an inherent contradiction (like an Arrow impossibility result). (3) Show the ideal is normatively powerful enough to justify a state, any state.…

Kudos to California

It has legalized the sale of cottage food, which means–among other things–that one is no longer breaking the law if one sells bread made in one’s own oven. Since government does have a tendency to keep expanding, it is nice to see that every once in a while, it can contract, and it is important to celebrate when a responsible contraction occurs.

When Regulations Attack . . . and Small Government Advocates Are Responsible

I understand that certain regulations are necessary to prevent fraud, or to ensure that a certain class of individuals aren’t made eligible for a certain class of benefits. But I am with Will Baude and Jacob Levy, who criticize the fact that in the latest farm bill, small-government advocates (Republicans, specifically) have helped ensure the existence of a larger government with more intrusive regulations in order to enforce zero tolerance policies that cost more to implement than they will ever bring about in savings. Quoth Levy: And so poor people will be subjected to another set of forms, another set of…