Democracy & Technology Blog Regulatory failure

The 31st annual Regulators’ Budget Report from the Mercatus Center at George Mason University notes, among other things, that there was a 26 percent increase in regulatory spending during the Bush administration, and debunks the myth that lack of regulation caused the financial crisis.
Separately, the New York Times reports that nobody was more surprised that the Securities and Exchange Commission did not discover Bernard L. Madoff’s enormous Ponzi scheme years ago than Mr. Madoff himself.

Mr. Madoff said that the young investigators who pestered him over incidentals like e-mail messages should have just checked basics like his account with Wall Street’s central clearinghouse and his dealings with the firms that were supposedly handling his trades.
“If you’re looking at a Ponzi scheme, it’s the first thing you do,” he said.
Those simple steps, he added, could have revealed years earlier that he was running the largest Ponzi scheme ever, a crime that has now dragged the S.E.C. into the worst scandal in its 75-year history. “It would have been easy for them to see,” he added.

Also this week, from Paris, news that government cannot even efficiently manage a bike-rental system.

Many of the specially designed bikes, which, when the system’s startup and maintenance expenses are included, cost $3,500 each, are showing up on black markets in Eastern Europe and northern Africa. Many others are being spirited away for urban joy rides, then ditched by roadsides, their wheels bent and tires stripped.
With 80 percent of the initial 20,600 bicycles stolen or damaged, the program’s organizers have had to hire several hundred people just to fix them. And along with the dent in the city-subsidized budget has been a blow to the Parisian psyche.

This is really no surprise. Government simply reacts to headlines, because criticism can have political consequences. But government doesn’t have to worry about paying taxes, making a return on investment and constantly improving the product. Government can simply make excuses.
Is it any wonder, therefore, that nearly every municipal Wi-Fi system has failed?

Hance Haney

Director and Senior Fellow of the Technology & Democracy Project
Hance Haney served as Director and Senior Fellow of the Technology & Democracy Project at the Discovery Institute, in Washington, D.C. Haney spent ten years as an aide to former Senator Bob Packwood (OR), and advised him in his capacity as chairman of the Senate Communications Subcommittee during the deliberations leading to the Telecommunications Act of 1996. He subsequently held various positions with the United States Telecom Association and Qwest Communications. He earned a B.A. in history from Willamette University and a J.D. from Lewis and Clark Law School in Portland, Oregon.