This week’s new episode of the Fox animated series”King of the Hill” centers around a great — and hilarious — illustration of the public choice insight that government officials act for self-interested motives as much as do actors in the market.
The episode begins when a python that belongs to Lucky, the boyfriend of the Hills’s naive and gullible niece, Luanne, escapes down the toilet and into the sewer. Hank Hill (for the unitiated: the show’s main character) asks the local government animal control agency to catch the monster.
However, rather than rush to solve this emergency, Heimlich County’s two animal control agents — who complain constantly about their being underpaid and their agency underfunded — seize on the giant snake as their “gravy train” (their words) as a panicked county commission vastly increases their funding. The commissioners even try to outbid each other in their enthusiasm for catching the critter, lest they be perceived as being “soft on snakes” — one commissioner even calls the efforts, “My war on snakes.”
Yet the greedy — and ineffective — animal control agents aren’t satisfied with their newly increased funding (which they use for such necessities as a new cappuccino machine). They want the huge infusion of cash that can only come from a bond measure. Their scheme falls apart, and the snake-fighting bond measure goes down to defeat — but lest anyone think the taxpayers of Heimlich County aren’t being mulcted by somebody, two other bond measures pass at that same time: Measure A, the “Clean Air for Children to Breathe” bond measure, and Measure F, the “Children are our Future Bond Measure.”