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4 January 2008

Four Types of Government Operatives: Bullies, Muggers, Sneak Thieves, and Con Men: Newsroom: The Independent Institute


http://www.independent.org/newsroom/article.asp?id=2091

Four Types of Government Operatives: Bullies, Muggers, Sneak Thieves, and Con Men 
December 20, 2007
Robert Higgs

Somehow it seemed as though the farm had grown richer without making the animals themselves any richer—except, of course, for the pigs and the dogs.
—George Orwell, Animal Farm
The beginning of political wisdom is the realization that despite everything you've always been taught, the government is not really on your side; indeed, it is out to get you.

For example, for many years, a single congressman from northeastern Pennsylvania—first Dan Flood and then Joe McDade—substantially enriched the anthracite coal interests of that region by inserting a brief, one-paragraph limitation rider in the annual appropriations act for the Department of Defense. The upshot of this obscure provision was that Pennsylvania anthracite was transported to Germany to provide heating fuel for U.S. military bases that could have been heated more cheaply by using local resources. This coals-to-Newcastle shenanigan was a classic sneak-thief gambit, a thing of legislative beauty, but every year's budget contains thousands of schemes that operate with similar effect, if not in an equally audacious manner...MORE


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