Hart: Bootleggers and Baptists and the need to cut costs, end Washington overreach

Hart: Bootleggers and Baptists and the need to cut costs, end Washington overreach

May 18th, 2018 by Ron Hart in Opinion Columns

Given his first-hand experience with the massive size, pettiness, cost and overreach of deep-state government in Washington, it is time for Trump to cut about 25 percent of it.

If government continues to grow at this rate, expect 10 policemen with AR-15s knocking down your door in a pre-dawn raid over your unpaid parking ticket.

Ron Hart

Ron Hart

Photo by Contributed Photo /Times Free Press.

There are so many areas the government could cut workers, and it would be best done in a good economy where they could find jobs should they really want to work. My suggestion on what to cut is simple. If you can find the government "service" in the Yellow Pages, or your agency's workers are not essential enough to have to come in on a snow day in D.C., then let's cut back.

Maybe we should start with Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. That should be the name of a convenience store, not a government agency. Duplicity and stupidity abound in government; state and local governments already police these things. What the ATF?

I was just in Washington, D.C., and visited Mt. Vernon. It reminded me that George Washington brewed booze, hosted horse races, and raised tobacco and hemp, thus becoming the Father of Spring Break and the patron saint of Panama City Beach.

This country was founded on alcohol, tobacco, firearms and explosives. I think it was also my high school prom theme. No government agency has ever made anything better. Prohibition spawned gangsters and the mob. "Drug wars" financially fueled Mexican gangs. Hard right-wing social conservatives agitate for such issues based on imposing their moral standard. Democrats go along because they love regulating and taxing things.

Bootleggers and Baptists is the economic principle that regulations are often supported by odd bedfellows. Baptists and other religious fundamentalists agitated for Sunday "Blue Laws," restricting the sale of alcohol. Bootleggers sold alcohol illegally, and they sold more when liquor stores were closed. Thus this holy and unholy alliance. Baptists lowered the costs of political favor-seeking for the bootleggers because politicians can pose as "moral" in supporting Baptists, yet they know they are helping bootleggers.

Regulation also stifles free markets and creates barriers to entry in entrenched businesses. Consider our regulated cable TV oligopoly, where costs rise and service stinks. If you wonder why Mark Zuckerberg welcomed regulation in his business when he testified before Congress, then this explains it. Mostly regulations harm consumers and help big business to keep competitors and innovation at bay. And lobbyists fuel this injustice.

Senators have asked Major League Baseball to ban smokeless tobacco. They feel strongly that tobacco should be only enjoyed the D.C. way: by having your cigar lit with a $100 bill from a lobbyist. Hillary would have banned cigars in the White House for non-smoking related reasons.

Coors Stadium would be the last to ban beer. To be fair, Coors beer is so watered down it is the official beer of child custody hearings.

Think of what our FDA did to refuel the heroin epidemic. By pushing "legal opioids" for pain, they hooked the nation on a pill that has a street value of $200. A town of 2,900 in West Virginia got 20.8 million painkiller pills shipped to it. You'd think that town would replace Disney World as the "Happiest Place on Earth." But it didn't; the pills ruined lives and increased heroin use. Leave it to our government to make heroin more cost-efficient than legal pills.

In West Virginia, being "clean and sober" just means you have showered before you head to the liquor store or to see your drug dealer.

As a libertarian, my view is: Smoke all the crack you want; just don't expect me to pay for your rehab or not shoot you if you try to steal my lawn mower. Legalize everything and educate people so they can make informed decisions. Show pictures of Keith Richards to those who want to smoke and do drugs. Put pictures of morbidly obese people riding a Rascal scooter around Walmart on Cinnabon bags. You get the idea. Educate and let idiots wean themselves out of our gene pool.

I doubt Trump will cut ATF since he doesn't drink and takes a dim view of it. We should be thankful he doesn't drink; studies show that alcohol increases the size of the "send" button by 50 percent.

Contact Ron Hart at Ron@RonaldHart.com or @RonaldHart on Twitter.

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