The late George Corley Wallace Jr., never one to pussyfoot, railed during his presidential campaigns about “pointy-headed bureaucrats” in Washington.

Researchers from Vanderbilt recently were asked to survey more than 3,500 federal executives about personnel matters. Many complained about not being able to hire and retain top talent.

The survey, reported on by Aaron Boyd of Federal Times, concluded that “merit is often not sufficiently incorporated into promotions and, especially, dismissals.”

And whose fault might that be? Someone who owns a business is raising his hand…

It’s the government’s fault.

By burying businesses in laws and regulations designed to stamp out every form of discrimination — real, imagined or theoretical — Uncle Sam has also wiped out the ability to discriminate against sloth and incompetence.

Excessive regulation is why people are reluctant to start businesses.

Bureaucrats, once public servants, have appointed themselves public overlords. Can’t the federal executives see this? Their heads might be pointy for a reason: To accommodate dunce caps.

A note on Wallace: When he is remembered at all, the contemporary narrative portrays him as strictly a segregationist. But after he left the national stage, he properly apologized to the black community, saying, “Those days are over, and they ought to be over.”

In 1982, Wallace won a fourth term as Alabama’s governor and appointed record numbers of African-Americans to state positions.

Wallace was a lifelong Democrat. An inconvenient fact for many.