To Be Governed… (May 2000)


“To be governed is to be watched, inspected, directed, indoctrinated, numbered, estimated, regulated, commanded, controlled, law‐​driven, preached at, spied upon, censored, checked, valued, enrolled, by creatures who have neither the right, nor the wisdom nor the virtue to do so.”

—Pierre‐​Joseph Proudhon

“To Be Governed” is a series of news clippings highlighting the excesses of government. The feature is included in each issue of Cato’s bimonthly publication Cato Policy Report.

Lobby to stay healthy

Ichiro Kawachi, director of the Harvard Center for Society and Health… looked at national survey data collected annually by the University of Chicago’s National Opinion Research Center and found that people who belonged to lots of voluntary associations like service clubs were significantly less likely to die in any given year than relatively isolated individuals…

What’s more, Kawachi has found that living in a community or a state where residents have lots of civic ties — what social scientists call “social capital”— is better for your health than living in an area where people are relatively less connected…

Kawachi says he doesn’t know why states with lots of social capital are generally healthier — at least not yet. He suspects that people “who actively participate in PTAs, sports groups and other organizations are actually learning a lot of skills that are transferable to the realm of politics.” They use these political skills to lobby government and employers for programs that promote good health.

Washington Post, May 28, 2000

Busy giddy minds with foreign quarrels lest they look too near unto my state

Federal investigators have uncovered evidence that some of them believe is sufficient to indict Gen. Augusto Pinochet for conspiracy to commit murder in the 1976 car bombing that killed a former Chilean diplomat and opposition politician, Orlando Letelier, on Washington’s Embassy Row…

Attorney General Janet Reno is committed to pursuing the investigation… “She is extremely committed to seeing that justice is done in the case… ‚” a senior Justice Department official said.

Washington Post, May 28, 2000

Try to find authorization in the Constitution for any Gore position

Vice President Gore today kicked off a series of speeches on his “family agenda,”… announcing a proposal to increase funding for after‐​school programs by $11 billion over 10 years…

Next week, Gore plans speeches on cancer prevention, mental health and fatherhood.

Washington Post, May 26, 2000

Trying to spend like the government

Nearly half of the schools participating in Milwaukee’s private school choice program had to return money to the state last year — in two cases, more than $100,000 each — because, hard as they tried, they couldn’t spend the $4,894 they were given to educate each of their choice students, records show.

As Milwaukee Public Schools officials prepare to approve a budget for 2000-’01 that comes to about $9,500 per student, audits of schools in the choice program show they are struggling to spend just half of what is spent by their public counterparts.

“We don’t have to pay for a huge administration and a lot of red tape,” said Lois Maczuzak, an administrator at St. John Kanty School, 2840 S. 10th St., which spent $3,096 to educate each student, making it the lowest‐​cost school in the choice program.

Under the program, which lets low‐​income students attend private and religious schools at taxpayer expense, students in 1998-’99 received vouchers worth either $4,894 or the choice school’s cost to educate each pupil, whichever was less. This year, the vouchers are worth slightly more than $5,000.

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, May 21, 2000

My text for today: There is no controlling legal authority

Vice President Al Gore gave the commencement address at Columbia Law School in New York on Tuesday.

—Today, NBC News, May 17, 2000

Warning: bureaucrat shortage looms

The federal government is facing a people crisis.

Within five years, about 30 percent of the government’s 1.6 million full‐​time employees will be eligible to retire. An additional 20 percent could seek early retirement.

While not all will bolt at once, the government seems assured of a huge talent drain at the start of a new century.

Washington Post, May 7, 2000