April 6, 2013

CORRUPTION AND NANNYISM GO TOGETHER: Corrupt Pols Running America’s Biggest Nanny State.

It’s been a truly abysmal week for New York politics. Earlier this week, Democratic State Senator Malcolm Smith was accused of trying to rig the city’s mayoral election by bribing his way onto the GOP ballot. Now two New York State Assemblymen are being charged in another bribery racket to keep a Bronx senior center free of competition. . . .

With three Democratic politicians charged in one week, prosecutors are calling corruption in New York politics “rampant.” It’s hard to disagree: The blasé reaction of many of the accused suggests that this sort of corruption is far more common than anyone would like to admit. . . . It’s hardly a stretch to say that New York has some of the worst political leadership in the country. This wouldn’t be such a problem if these leaders were powerless, but unfortunately that’s not the case: a study by the Mercatus Institute found that New York government puts more limits on its citizens’ freedom than does government in any other state. In addition to the high-profile embarassments like the “Big Gulp Ban” and the proposed ear bud ban, the Empire State also limits its residents with tight regulations on everything from education to health care to rent prices. Even on “personal freedom,” New York fares worse than much of the nation.

The nannyism is partly to distract from the corruption — and partly just another opportunity to leverage it. A good general rule is that the more a government wants to run its citizens’ lives, the worse job it will do at the most basic tasks of government. “This is what blue model decline looks like. And with businesses and people fleeing the state, the worst may be yet to come.”

UPDATE: In response to my “general rule” above, Ted Balaker emails: “Wow–that could be the thesis statement for a new series I’m doing for Reason! It focuses on govt’s most important duty–protecting the peaceful people from the violent people and how distracted policing makes it less likely that officials will fulfill that duty.”

I’m calling it Reynolds’ Second Law. (The First Law, of course, is here.)

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