The Good Guys Win Again

Yesterday my plumbing finally passed inspection at that house I’ve been rehabbing–the one with the borrowed water meter. Today the meter gets pulled and tonight, under cover of darkness, it goes back to its original home.

My customer (the investor) is from Viet Nam and, being unfamiliar with bureaucracies, asked me why everyone at the water department was so stupid. On the telephone he was transferred to eight or ten different people, none of whom knew anything about how to solve his dilemma. Someone even transferred him to the meter shop, which is just the guys in work clothes who have absolutely nothing to do with setting up a new account and typing it into the computer and sending the bill and such. He asked “Is there no instructions for them, what to do if A or B or C, and then A1 or A2 or A3, etc.?” He’s an engineer and thinks in linear terms.

My answer was that the opposite is true. In a bureaucracy, they’re smothered with instructions and regulations because everyone is trying to cover his posterior and keep his job, but nobody is concerned about the customer. What you routinely find in these government offices is people who say “I filled out the form, I followed the procedure, you can’t fire me or I’ll sue your backside. True, what I did accomplished nothing, didn’t help the customer, and, in fact, made things worse; but I’m safe and that’s all that matters.” And, of course, it’s impossible to make a rule for every situation. If smart people aren’t empowered to exercise initiative and solve the problems with “whatever it takes,” the problems don’t get solved and the bureaucracy becomes a nightmare of red tape and gridlock.

Which pretty well describes government in America. Join the revolution: check out the Constitution Party.

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