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Government failure is a topic that crops up so very often. Glenn Reynolds’ column today focuses on the problems with collective action, and he is right on target. “Many of the things government does, we don’t choose. Many of the things we choose, government doesn’t do. And whatever gets done, we’re not the ones doing it. And those who are doing it often interpret their mandates selfishly.” Reynolds uses the VA scandal as a sad case in point. The high performance ratings and bonus payments given to VA executives as the scandal festered around them is particularly galling.

“Whether the sign out front says ‘Department of Veterans Affairs’ or ‘Ministry of Silly Walks,’ … the strongest priority of most bureaucracies is the welfare of the bureaucracy and the bureaucrats it employs, not whatever the bureaucracy is actually supposed to be doing. That’s worth remembering, whenever someone says they’ve found something else that we should ‘choose to do together.'”