Jonah Goldberg
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Perhaps you might meditate on the District of Columbia's public school system, which spends roughly $14,000 a pupil in exchange for one of the worst educations in the country. Every year, one of the greatest mysteries in the nation's capital is whether textbooks have been delivered to the right kids, or even to the right schools. It can take until Christmas to get it all worked out. FedEx Corp., meanwhile, can tell you where any of its millions of packages are in more than 100 countries, right now. (Why not just FedEx the textbooks to the kids?)

Or you might ponder the hilarious example of New York's OTB. For most of the last 40 years, these state-run betting parlors have actually lost money. Apparently, the house always wins - except when Uncle Sam is the bookie.

Look wherever you like, it's not as if there's a shortage of examples. And more are on the way.

Indeed, all augurs point to a tsunami of government ambition in the years ahead, particularly if Barack Obama wins in November. Obama promises a national health insurance plan overseen by the kith and kin who serve the Senate its navy bean soup. He believes that the failure of public schools - like D.C.'s - is largely attributable to the under-funding of education. D.C.'s schools already are among the best-funded and worst schools in the country. By all means, let's have more of the same!

Feinstein, to her credit, witnessed an abject failure of government right under her nose - on her plate, in fact - and did something about it. "It's clearly not the sort of thing that I ran for the Senate to do," she said, according to the Post. "But somebody has to do it."

Alas, the possibility that she or her colleagues will make a similar call about anything that doesn't affect them directly in less than another 20 years seems too much to hope for.

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Jonah Goldberg

Jonah Goldberg is editor-at-large of National Review Online,and the author of the forthcoming book The Tyranny of Clichés. You can reach him via Twitter @JonahNRO.
 
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