My sister, who was a religious education director, taught me one good way to deal with problems: "If they keep bringing something they can't agree on a solution to, appoint a committee."

This obviously had nothing to do with the problem. What it did was stop two or three people from wasting hours arguing in meetings my sister had to attend, and let them yell at each other on their own.

We do exactly the same thing all the time, but we pay big money for the committee. The DEA is one of these committees. My sister's committees cost nothing and made no problems. All of the committees we form, the government organizations and lobbying groups, do a lot of harm and are hugely expensive.

More important, they get in the way of any rational approach to the problem. The DEA does a lot of public relations work with drug busts and politicians and respectable conservatives get to scream about the problem.

And the bureaucracy sprouts "experts." People who have made a problem worse for many years become "experienced."

I remember an interview with an expert, a judge who opposed minimum sentencing laws. He kept saying we should take his word for it, because he was "experienced." He had been sentencing people for many years.

The interviewer tried weakly to explain to this imbecile that the whole minimum sentencing movement was directed against "experienced" people like him who were letting criminals off.

The judge didn't even notice his point. The judge went in saying to the people, "YOU IGNUNT!" and he was experienced.

Never set up a program to deal with something if you don't demand SPECIFIC results. Don't set a program if you aren't going to monitor it regularly and be willing to abolish it if it fails.

That not only does not deal with the problem, it creates a whole set of people who are paid NOT to deal with it. It licenses experts who will defend failure to the death.