A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006.

Recent entries:
“Candy is nature’s way of making up for Mondays” (3/22)
“All you need is love and a good cup of coffee” (3/22)
“Caffeine isn’t a drug, it’s a vitamin” (3/22)
“Coffee with a friend is like capturing happiness in a cup” (3/22)
“What did the whip cream say to Indiana Jones?"/"Cool Whip.” (3/22)
More new entries...

A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z


Entry from September 27, 2010
“Crime wouldn’t pay if the government ran it”

"Crime wouldn’t pay if the government ran it” is a humorous line about the basic incompetence of government. The quotation—once popular with graffiti writers—has been cited in print since at least 1968 and is of unknown authorship.


30 September 1968, Robesonian (Lumberton, NC), pg. 12, col. 1:
CURE FOR CRIME
Somebody else said it: “Crime wouldn’t pay if the government ran it.”—Anniston (Ala.) Star

20 April 1975, Cleveland (OH) Plain Dealer, “Graffiti” by Robert Barnett, Sunday Magazine, pg. 58, col. 2:
Crime wouldn’t pay if the government ran it.

14 March 1976, Big Spring (TX) Herald, “Around the rim” by Walt Finley, pg. 4A, col. 6: 
Fast fingers Sandra Green, Herald word maker and proud new mama of a girl, has a friend who suggests “Crime wouldn’t pay if the government ran it.”

Google Books
Jail Management:
Problems, programs, and perspectives

By E. Eugene Miller
Lexington, MA: Lexington Books
1978
Pg. 15:
An anonymous wit once observed that “Crime wouldn’t pay, if the government ran it.”

Google Books
How to write fillers and short features that sell
By Louise Boggess
New York, NY: Barnes & Noble Books
1982, ©1981
Pg. 29:
I found this quip in “Dear Suzie” in Midnight/Globe.
Crime wouldn’t pay if the government ran it. — MICHAEL D. HERTZ

Google News Archive
11 December 1984, Deseret News (Salt Lake City, UT), “The writing’s on the wall” by Maxine Martz, pg. 2C, col. 5:
Crime wouldnt pay if the government ran it.

26 July 1987, Fresno (CA) Bee:
And a bumper sticker on another vehicle: “Crime wouldn’t pay if the government ran it.”

Posted by Barry Popik
New York CityGovernment/Law/Politics/Military • (0) Comments • Monday, September 27, 2010 • Permalink