Election 2012: Forget Bailouts, We Need a Shakeout

Changing the mindset of a bureaucracy

     

The Problem with Bureaucracy

Despite what our leaders and those who want to be elected as our leaders constantly talk about–multipliers, stimulus, economic incentives etc. — our government can never be run efficiently.

By its very design, it’s not intended to.

In his 1944 work, Bureaucracy, Ludwig von Mises, the famed Austrian free market economist, theorized this is because government leaders insulate themselves.

He observed that the champions of socialism “call themselves progressives but recommend a system which is characterized by rigid observance of routine and by a resistance to every kind of improvement.”

I suspect if he were writing today, he’d use the term liberals, but that’s a topic for another time.

Not that any of this is surprising, but Mises also noted that bureaucracies are socially self-interested and completely irrational when it comes to economics that could actually improve the public’s welfare.

So what are we to do?

I actually think the answer is pretty simple – we change the system.

Look, I am not trying to be trite, but think about it.

If we buy off on the inefficiency postulated by Parkinson and the reasons for isolation proposed by Mises, political parties don’t really matter much — if at all.

What actually matters is the motivation driving the people who serve the rest of us.

Fix that and by implication we fix a whole host of other problems.

Make Them Live Like the Rest of Us

Let’s see who in Washington really wants to serve our country if they get the same benefits our soldiers get, an idea floated to me during a recent flight by my friend Andrea Barry, Managing Partner of Eleventh Hour and herself a retired career military officer.

Require them to fill out their own insurance applications and tax forms like the rest of us.

Neutralize their ability to personally benefit from decisions they make on behalf of the rest of us. If they violate the rules, immediately haul their sorry butts into court after subjecting them to the politician’s equivalent of courts martial. Implement jail time.

Then, we’ll see who really wants to “serve.”

If you think I’m being too harsh, let me offer you a personal challenge.

Try voting for something YOU believe in instead of something you stand against this fall or toeing the “party line.”

Perhaps then we’ll get some hardworking, ethical, and properly focused leaders who do their jobs…and go home.

And you know what?

I bet we would see an entirely new generation of actual leaders who are truly worthy of carrying that title and who still want to serve despite the hardships involved.

We don’t need more bailouts…we need a shakeout.

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