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Posted by Tim Bryce on January 23, 2013


– Impediments to progress or necessary evils?

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Some time ago we built our office building down here in Florida. We also built one up in Ohio and this gave us an opportunity to watch bureaucrats up close and personal, but I cannot really say there are substantial differences between the north and the south in this regards. In both instances we had to deal with government regulators who issued permits, inspectors and others who supervised construction. I think it’s good that we have such checks and balances, but I’m disturbed by the inordinate amount of red tape they create. I also find such bureaucrats to be a temperamental lot who changes their minds at the drop of a hat. One minute our water and sewer lines were fine, the next minute they weren’t. Most of the time you get the feeling that the left hand doesn’t know what the right is doing. Frankly, I believe bureaucrats add at least 33% to the cost and time for such projects, but perhaps I’m being too conservative in my estimate.

Obviously bureaucrats are not limited to the construction field. We find them in post offices, drivers license bureaus, and just about anywhere we have to interact with the government. I’m certainly not suggesting all civil servants are bureaucrats, but it sure seems like they’ve got the lion’s share of them. These are people who like to create little fiefdoms and thrive on power plays over the people they are supposed to be serving.

You’ve got to wonder about the effect such people have on productivity. For example, I’ve been reading about companies who are privatizing the prison system. Instead of the government constructing and operating the prisons, private companies have gotten into the business and are building and operating first class facilities at a fraction of the cost than governments do. Some people are alarmed by this. Frankly, I think its a no-brainer and smart business.

I guess the point is, bureaucrats impede progress and productivity. They may like to create their little fiefdoms and drive us all crazy on detail, but I see them more as a barrier than anything else. These are the types of people who see the glass as half empty; they can dream up more reasons why something can’t be done as opposed to accomplishing anything. I guess they have forgotten the meaning of the expression “civil servant” which is supposed to serve the public as opposed to the other way around.

Keep the Faith!

Note: All trademarks both marked and unmarked belong to their respective companies.

Tim Bryce is a writer and the Managing Director of M&JB Investment Company (M&JB) of Palm Harbor, Florida and has over 30 years of experience in the management consulting field. He can be reached at

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Copyright © 2013 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.

FIXING TOILETS – Not a fun job to do, but something most of us have to face sooner or later.

Listen to Tim on WJTN-AM (News Talk 1240) “The Town Square” with host John Siggins (Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays, (12:30-3:00pm).

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8 Responses to “BUREAUCRATS”

  1. Tim Bryce said

    A U.V. of Largo, Florida wrote…

    “Right on as usual. When bureaucrats are involved, “Murphy’s Law” always comes into play too”


  2. Louise Massa said

    The propaganda is that we are a free society, however when we consider the enormous limitations on our freedom, we really can’t do much anymore without getting government approval, and this goes way beyond the economic sphere.


  3. Tim Bryce said

    An M.B. of Clearwater, Florida wrote…

    “As people who are struggling to put food on the table these days, we see most bureaucrats as people who do mostly unneeded work with salaries, health benefits and early retirement way above what they’d get in the private sector, all of it coming out of the taxes of the people below them like us, preventing us from saving a dime for our now nonexistent retirements, or our outrageously priced health insurance, etc. (example: Blue Cross charges 1/4 of my husband’s gross income for lousy health insurance and is planning to raise premiums 20-100% this year). Bureaucrats get better insurance for almost nothing and get to keep it after they leave work at age 50 or 55, forcing people like my husband to pay for it and die on the job, if he can get any work in this economy. At our income level, bureaucrats aren’t just a nuisance; they’re the mini-thieves working for the big thieves.”


  4. Tim Bryce said

    A G.B. of Clearwater, Florida wrote…

    “Great article! I recently had a contractor inspect a door in my house for replacement. He had to inspect and test the paint surrounding the door to comply with the EPA ‘s Lead-Safe Certified Guide to Renovate Right. If I had done the work, there would be no requirement.”


  5. Tim Bryce said

    A D.L. of Chicago, Illinois wrote…

    ” I’d really like to have a friendly debate about this subject sometime. IMHO, there are at least two sides to this subject … and the private sector is certainly not without its “bureaucracies”. Thanks for the article.”


  6. Tim Bryce said

    A P.M. of Palm Harbor, Florida wrote…

    “A really good article, Tim!! I am in total agreement with you.”


  7. Tim Bryce said

    A B.H. in Boulder, Colorado wrote…

    “Couple of things come to mind on this particular subject:

    1. The job of a bureaucrat is to say no – to stop you from doing things.not to figure out a way to help you get things done. In other words, to keep justifying their jobs.

    2. A year or so after my wife died, I re-did the back deck on the house. The inspector came out and did his normal thing around the power and gas lines on the deck, and then told me he had to come inside and check the bedrooms for smoke detectors. I asked him why, since the deck had no connection to anything in the house. He simply said “because it’s required.” I said “show me where it says that.” He broke out his code book and pointed to the appropriate section. I read it, then pointed to the LAST sentence in the code that said, if there is no connection to the house, then the interior inspection is not required. He looked at that and said “I never noticed that before.” Hmmm. Why is it that we have to know the rules better than the “professionals?”

    I’m gonna guess that they insert closer to 50% of the cost and effort to comply with their whims, rather than your estimate of 33%.

    Having rules and codes is great . but the problem is typically an inspector is a specialist in ONE area only, not ALL of them.but he has authority over all of them.

    Somewhere around here, I have a piece on the difference between “Big Bureaucrats” and “Little Bureaucrats” – it’s very telling – and enlightening. It’s from my time in the military.”


  8. Tim Bryce said

    A C.H. of Oldsmar, Florida wrote…

    “Makes me sicker than I already am about government officials and politicians at every level.”


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