In New York City, Off-Track Betting is closing up shop. OTB was the only bookie that ever managed to lose money, one of the denizens of its "parlors" observed to the New York Times. There's little doubt government would do any better in drugs, prostitution or loan-sharking. So if the public sector does such a lousy job running a vice operation, the continued opposition to a government takeover of health care is understandable. Another government-run operation not doing too well these days is its manipulation of the government bond market, aka, QE2. In direct contradiction of the Federal Reserve's stated intent to lower the yields on Treasury notes, those interest rates have shot up since the central bank announced its intention to buy $600 billion of Uncle Sam's paper by mid-2011. Given the contrary behavior of markets that the government tries to dominate, I would have preferred the Fed to announce a price-support program for gasoline. That way, prices at the pump surely would have plunged instead of rising about half a buck a gallon since the summer driving season ended.