The Pentagon’s brownie recipe is 26 pages long. Among the ingredients: water that conforms to the “National Primary Drinking Water Regulations (Copies are available from the Office of Drinking Water, Environmental Protection Agency, WH550D, 401 M Street, S.W., Washington, DC 20460),” eggs in compliance with “Regulations Governing the Inspection of Eggs and Egg Products (7 CFR Part 59),” and baking soda “which meets the requirements of the Food Chemicals Codex.”
Wondering about adding nuts? Simply consult section 220.127.116.11: “Shelled walnut pieces shall be of the small piece size classification, shall be of a light color, and shall be U.S. No. 1 of the U.S. Standards for Shelled English Walnuts. A minimum of 90 percent, by weight, of the pieces shall pass through a 4/16-inch diameter round hole screen and not more than 1 percent, by weight, shall pass through a 2/16-inch diameter round hole screen. The shelled walnuts shall be coated with an approved food grade antioxidant and shall be of the latest season’s crop.”
And that, in a nutshell, is why government doesn't work. Somewhere along the line, someone baked brownies using dirty water. So, instead of relying on everyone working to the assumption that dirty water doesn't make good brownies, we need a regulation for it. Then someone made brownies using old nuts. Most people wouldn't anyway, but now we need a regulation for that.
And so on and so on.
My daughter bakes brownies quite often. The recipe (including the ingredient list) is less than half an A4 page. They're delicious and no-one has died from eating them yet, nor do I think they ever will.
In this small microcosm of bureaucratic life, we find how government fucks everything up. All that extra regulation burdening (for example) banks now is because someone learned a lesson somewhere and the government wants to enforce that lesson on everyone. The fact that the banks have learned that lesson pretty well, thanks very much, and certainly won't be making that mistake again in a hurry.
But no, that's not good enough, the government has to add another rule to the book, with all sorts of unforeseen consequences and catastrophes. And simply complying with all these rules makes it more and more difficult to enter that market and provide effective competition. Existing banks already have compliance teams and know where the bodies are buried, so it's no real hassle for them to comply with more rules.
And so, in brownies and in banking (and, indeed, in every aspect of life) the government does lots to protect incumbents and does nothing worthwhile to protect you.