Bureaucratic Incentives

I’m not persuaded by this Pajamas Media article that bases a lot of its finding on “ATF official said.”   ATF officials have a great incentive to play up the Mexican gun problem, because Congress has been willing to open the funding spigot full blast in order to help combat the problem.

I’ve seen this political tactic play out locally in Pennsylvania more than once, only with the City of Philadelphia playing the role of the Mexican Government.  The City bitches and moans about guns and criminals, and demands Harrisburg pass more gun laws.  Pro-gun forces in Harrisburg resist, and there is much whining and moaning.  Then, when interest groups see an opportunity, a proposal is put forward to give more funding to some kind of law enforcement, or other pet activity with an aim to reduce crime, and everyone jumps on the alternative proposal to send more cash to Philadelphia, in hopes they will go away happy  and will shut up about gun control.

It’s naive to believe Mexico isn’t also embarrassing the United States into sending more aid, and it plays right along with ATF’s bureaucratic incentives, because it means more agents, more inspectors, new fancy computer systems, and all the other things bureaucracies like to have more of.

Mexico could care less whether we pass more gun laws.  Like the City of Philadelphia, they know full well the root of the real problem, but as long as they can deflect blame, and keep the money rolling in, their perverse incentive will have them play the gun control card again, and again.  Firearms policy is a remarkable political tool, for both sides, in American politics.  No doubt folks in Mexico have learned this.

One Response to “Bureaucratic Incentives”

  1. ctd says:

    When claiming most of the stuff crossing the border comes from the USA, I keep wondering what percentage of that is exported in full compliance with federal law and with full knowledge & approval of the BATFE? Especially as the allegations dominantly involve stuff that is made here, but is in no way available to citizens.