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Government 101: Why It Doesn’t Work

By its very nature, a bureaucracy discourages and suppresses creativity and innovation. Both political and commercial bureaucracies are predisposed to achieve a modicum of mediocrity, but there is an important difference. The typical government elected official is constantly striving to be reelected. Appointed officials do everything possible to attain reappointment. Career government employees are working to acquire years of service, the determinant of superlative lifelong benefits.

In general, those who are employed in the private sector in any economy are struggling to make a profit as demanded by the executive at the pinnacle of the bureaucratic pyramid. The executive will be toppled from the pinnacle if profits do not evolve in a reasonable period of time. An unknown number of workers lower in the pyramid may also be required to find alternative employment.

Appointed and career government workers, like their private sector counterparts march to the drumbeat hammered out by the person at the pinnacle. A stark difference determines success between government and commercial incentives. Executives in the world of commerce are placed in power to achieve predetermined levels of accomplishment while the government servants, elected, appointed or career, have restrictive goals that are tied irrevocably to a budget and an approved ‘job description’. This job description defines both maximum effort as well as minimum results, forcing the worker defined by the job description to limit thoughts and actions that could otherwise improve efficiency.

All sovereign nations need government. The trick is to bring to a halt the growth of government beyond the bounds of protecting national sovereignty and individual safety and freedom of thought and action. Governments, like corporations, tend to grow and growth requires funding. Here again, the difference between government and the private sector are broadly different. Government simply raises taxes and fees while a company, whether publicly traded or privately held must depend on the production of goods and/or services that are demanded by market forces. Governments are able to tax a ham sandwich, a turning wheel or a wheel at rest. Officials need only to deem a need for funds and the bureaucracy will provide the necessary laws, statutes or ordinances to fulfill the monetary gap.

Commercial enterprises and governments are mutually dependent entities. Huge corporations build airplanes for both government and civilian applications. Just as Boeing needs to make a profit on each airplane produced, that airplane must meet specific government or private needs. When government identifies a perceived need, the concept should be presented to creators and thinkers among the citizenry. Government’s proper approach to economic stability and growth should always be to create an environment for public adaptability. However in many cases, the illusion that government can create value rather than create opportunity is lost on brains that think only in terms of tariffs, tolls and taxation and payments, penalties and pensions.

This brings us to Dick’s rule of national economic stability and equality; here it is: The toil of each worker in an economic system must bring added value equal to or greater than the cost of his/her total compensation and benefits during the working years and all the years of retirement that follow.

Here is why our current system leads to disaster and the above rule leads to stability. Current workers are taxed and the funds are passed along to those who no longer produce value for the economy. The number of recipients grows faster than the number of workers and thus instead of spreading the wealth, we are spreading the welfare (poverty).

We are on a dead-end street, not a detour.  And the guy at the pinnacle of the pyramid apparently doesn’t read street signs.

– Dick Baynton

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