It is Father’s Day, and there is surely almost no one taking solace from the fact that New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg has announced plans for a fatherhood-services coordinator. Or as The New York Post puts it: City Creates Daddy Czar.
The pattern is now well set.
First, a problem is identified. The Bloomberg administration has pointed out that roughly a third of New York City children live in a household without a father, and that the percentage is even higher for Hispanic children (43 percent) and black children (54 percent).
Second, the relevant politician declares he is opposed to the problem:
“Strong families make a strong New York. But too many children in this city are growing up without their fathers," said Mr. Bloomberg, 68 years old, the father of two adult daughters.
"We want more children in our city to experience the encouragement, support and love of their fathers," he said.
Third, they do something almost totally irrelevant, such as hire one person to coordinate with different city agencies in ways that will help fathers or fatherhood or something kind of like that.
In reality, of course, these efforts only distract attention and steal resources from efforts that might actually help -- say, improving the public schools, so more fathers who go to school can graduate, gain productive employment, feel as though they are making a contribution, and be valued by their wives and girlfriends for making a contribution.
When are politicians going to learn that the more things government tries to do, the less likely it is to be effective at any of them? Strong government depends on the ability to execute effectively. Governments that hire daddy czars before the schools are great, the neighborhoods safe, the potholes filled, and the subway runs on time just encourage disdain toward incompetent government. Straining to do so much, it can do nothing at all.