Excellent column from the incomparable Fred Reed.

Me, I reckon that what we need is an asteroid strike. I donít know how to start an asteroid, but Iím going to think about it. I see it as a matter of social responsibility.

See, societies are like people in that they get old, clot, lose flexibility, and then croak. They canít get better. Like most things, they just get worse. A rule of thermodynamics says that rivers donít flow backwards, plaque does not voluntarily leave arteries, and governments do not become more reasonable, efficient, or interested in the well-being of their populations.

What happens is that a government needs money, typically to do badly what it shouldnít be doing in the first place, so Congress passes tax laws. These may at first inadvertently be simple, comprehensible, and tolerably light. Then the unscrupulous, and bureaucrats, who would be unscrupulous if they had the intelligence, discover that it is easier to have the government drain money from the people and give it to the sharpers than it is to work for a living. Taxes grow heavier to feed the growing number of trough-feeders.

The people who actually pay the taxes grow weary of playing udder to innumerable ticks and invent ingenious ways to avoid the taxation. Each new dodge inspires Congress to pass a new and more complex law to prevent people from keeping their money. Humans are ingenious when they feel someone elseís hand in their pockets. Thus regulations grow like kudzu on a Georgia road cut until you have three hundred shelf-feet of impenetrable law that no one understands, even the government. This is good for the ticks because when law metamorphoses into mysticism, the shifty can find loopholes. Meanwhile every special interest on the planet bribes Congress, which amounts to an inexplicably exalted garage-sale, to pass laws exempting the special interest. The result is an unworkable thicket infested with vipers, leeches, and hag fish. Hello.

Actually, Iím not sure that hag fish infest thickets. They may, though.

There is no way to fix the thing because too many people are employed in mismanaging this legal linguini, or profit from sweet-heart deals bought from it. Coagulation works only in one direction.

Rest here.