I’m falling behind on criticizing government. Pretty soon people are going to wonder if I’m a real libertarian or not. So here are three issues that caught my attention recently.
The Marianas Money Meltdown
The Northern Marianas’ public employees pension fund is bankrupt. Rarely has there been a plan more perfectly designed to fail. The pension covers not just spouses, but children, “long after the employee died.” So allegedly public employees were legally adopting their grandchildren, so they’d be eligible. And you only had to work for the government for 3 years to be eligible for apparently full benefits at age 62. When the economy slowed, the government reduced its contributions to the fund, but because the pension is written into the Constitution, the payments to beneficiaries could not be adjusted. If a private pension fund had been run like this, liberals would be demanding better government oversight. So who do we turn to for oversight when it’s government that pooches the pensions?
The Mississippi Manacle Mess
The Jackson, Mississippi school district has agreed to stop handcuffing students to fixed objects as a form of discipline. Wait…what?! Yes, the Capital City Alternative School manacled students to immovable objects as punishment for minor infractions such as “violating dress code or talking back to a teacher.” I can only imagine the liberal outrage if this happened at a private school, or especially at a charter school.
It’s not that government is necessarily particularly egregious about these types of things. It’s that government is run by people, just like the private sector is, and people are bastard coated bastards with bastard filling. Put them in charge of anything, public or private, and they’ll find a way to completely screw it up.
Temporary Towhitch Tyranny
Then there is this proposed change to Michigan’s Vehicle Code.
(7) A PERSON SHALL NOT OPERATE A MOTOR VEHICLE UPON A HIGHWAY WITH TEMPORARY TOWING DEVICES, INCLUDING, BUT NOT LIMITED TO, A BALL AND HITCH, ATTACHED TO THE VEHICLE UNLESS THE MOTOR VEHICLE IS BEING USED FOR TOWING PURPOSES.
In other words, if–like me–you have a receiver hitch, you would have to remove the ball and hitch anytime you’re not towing something. That’s good practice, because if–like me–you never do it, the cotter pin rusts into place and it’s a real bear to remove when you need to. But the thing only sticks out about 6 inches, so it’s not a particular hazard, except to your shins when you’re walking around the back of your vehicle. The only justification I can see for this idea is to give police one more excuse to stop drivers and search for drugs.