David Brooks meditates on the tendency of rent-seekers to capture government.
You would think that liberals would have a special incentive to root out rent-seeking. Yet this has not been a major priority. There is no Steve Jobs figure in American liberalism insisting that the designers keep government simple, elegant and user-friendly. Sailors scrub their ships. Farmers clear weeds. Democrats have not spent a lot of time scraping barnacles off the state.
Am I being churlish, or just old, to point out that deregulation in transportation and the utilities began in the Carter administration, with the support of Ralph Nader and Edward Kennedy, and the biggest cuts to the Amtrak network took place under President Carter's watch.  I know I'm old when Mr Brooks's call to "choose a rent-seeker to hold up for ridicule and renunciation" reminds me of Senator Proxmire's Golden Fleece Awards.

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