A couple of funny newspaper articles have crossed my inbox this weekend.
The first, “Sinkhole of bureaucracy”, is from the Washington Post decrying the fact that federal employee pensions are processed by hands on paper in an underground facility, rather than being computerized. This is ironic because it comes from a newspaper that has recently covered the cost overruns and quality problems with Obamacare web sites such as healthcare.gov. The underground facility costs only $56 million per year to operate, an amount that could be squandered on healthcare.gov-style IT very quickly. (Related: this History Channel story on the Ayalon Institute, an underground bullet factory in Israel.)
The second is a New York Times story about how French entrepreneurs are emigrating to avoid taxes and regulations handed down from their central government. It is funny because one of the tax havens is England, traditionally an example of a sclerotic permanently stagnant economy (see Mancur Olson). It is ironic because the same newspaper has spent the past six years cheerleading for more taxes and regulations to be handed down from our own central government, arguing that these new taxes and regulations will have no effect on Americans’ behavior or interest in work.