Tuesday, November 21, 2006

What Government is For

I'm far to serious - usually I complain and agonize about monetary policy, market intervention, and so on. So let me try to lighten the tone by pointing out one of my favorite functions of government:

Declaring random things official.

Now the average sort of "Lunacy" as detailed above may be downright dangerous, but I, for one, am glad to know that at least seven States of our Union have the free time and energy to adopt official state muffins.

Muffins, you say? Oh yes, and I though having state birds, trees, and colors was quite contemporary, but a little reading of the newspaper for new declarations will always broaden your knowledge of politics.

For the record, the list of official muffin by state:

- Minnesota - Blueberry Muffin
- Massechusetts - Corn Muffin
- Hawaii - Coconut Muffin
- New York - Apple Muffin
- Washington - Blueberry Muffin
- California - Poppyseed Muffin
- Texas - Chocolate Chip Muffin

My first reaction was disgust that this is what tax dollars are being spent on - paying our representatives to debate what muffin should be the official emblem of a state.

My second reaction was that this sort of inanity is a sneaky way of getting the public to subsidize advertisment of your product, and unfairly excludes other industries from the benefits thereof.

My final thoughts were relief that if this is the most constructive thing that a legislature can think to do at any one point, they're probably not out doing actual harm.

And now, I'd like to ask a question: is this a cause of shifting balance of Federalism widening central powers at the expense of local authority, is it an effect thereof, or is it entirely unrelated?


Anonymous said...

You must have a lot of free time if you're researching which states have which official muffins. At least this keeps you busy from so you're not "out doing actual harm".

Official muffins convey a bit of state pride. Since no one company makes or sells muffins, it's hardly excluding other industries. Plus by raising a bit of local patriotism encourages the economy. Shouldn't you be happy about that?

Since you have the free time to rant about baked goods, why don't you check to see how much time the state legislators actually spent on these proclamations? If there was debate, then you may have a point, but I suspect the time spent for them was less time than you spent writing this post in the first place. The speeches (if any) most likely involved a bit of history and/or agricultural products in the state as means to justify one muffin over another. Minnesota has blueberries, Hawaii has coconuts, NYC is known as "the big apple" etc.

In any case, this is still a better use of time and resources than say a CEO using a company pension fund to spring for his wife's birthday party which includes an ice sculpture of Michelangelo's David that pisses champagne.


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