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Posts Tagged ‘Government’

BUREAUCRATS

Posted by Tim Bryce on January 23, 2013

BRYCE ON GOVERNMENT

– 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 timb001@phmainstreet.com

For Tim’s columns, see:
timbryce.com

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Copyright © 2013 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.


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

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Posted in Government, Politics | Tagged: , , , , , | 8 Comments »

HOW MUCH DO WE TRUST GOVERNMENT?

Posted by Tim Bryce on September 15, 2009

I recently developed a poll in Facebook whereby I was curious how Americans generally felt about their government officials, specifically how much they trusted them. To this end, the question was simply:

“For U.S. citizens only. In terms of your government officials (including Federal, State, and Local), how much do you TRUST your government?”

66 people participated in the poll, not exactly a landslide in terms of people, but still a respectable number. Here are the results:

0 – TOTAL TRUST – government officials have my best interests in mind. Keep everyone in office.

9% (6) – SOMEWHAT TRUST – I tend to believe in my government officials and I will support those I think are doing a good job.

12% (8) – AVERAGE – I am ambivalent. I can go either way depending on circumstances.

52% (34) – SOMEWHAT DISTRUST – I am suspicious of my government and I am inclined to vote out of office those I think are incompetent.

27% (18) – TOTAL DISTRUST – Government officials do not have my best interests in mind, I will vote out all incumbents in the next election.

I guess the results of the poll were to be expected. Even if more people participated in it, I believe the percentages would still be about the same. People today simply do not trust politicians. If we are so dissatisfied though, why do we reelect the same people over and over again? It seems we tolerate their behavior regardless of what they do. It’s kind of like thanking someone for mugging us, but with a little more finesse.

I sense a backlash is in the offing though as people become more aware of our growing economic problems, not just the meltdown of 2008, but our growing debt that looks more insurmountable with each passing day. In a way, it reminds me of the 1978 taxpayer revolt in California where the people finally got fed up with escalating property taxes and implemented the legendary “Proposition 13” to limit it (anyone remember Howard Jarvis?). This revolt helped propel Ronald Reagan into the limelight and launch his conservative movement.

From the discontent I am hearing today, I believe a similar groundswell is in the offing, and it will be so large, it will register shock waves on the Richter scale. In the next election, do not be surprised if you see a record number of incumbent officials voted out of office, not just at the federal level, but state and municipal as well.

I remember a time when we openly trusted our government officials, but I think the 1960’s changed all of that. When the stock market was clicking along on an upswing and we balanced the federal government’s budget, it seemed we were more inclined to overlook the indiscretions of our officials. Today though, as the economy stagnates, it is difficult to be trusting of any government official. I’m just thankful that I am not a politician as I believe people today will be giving a lot of them their walking papers in the next election.

Such is my Pet Peeve of the Week.

Keep the Faith!

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

Tim Bryce is the Managing Director of M. Bryce & Associates (MBA) of Palm Harbor, Florida and has over 30 years of experience in the management consulting field. He can be reached at timb001@phmainstreet.com

For a listing of Tim’s Pet Peeves, click HERE.

Tune into Tim’s new podcast, “The Voice of Palm Harbor,” at:

http://www.phmainstreet.com/voiceph.htm

Copyright © 2009 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.

Posted in Politics | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

TOO BIG TO FAIL?

Posted by Tim Bryce on May 19, 2009

A friend and I were recently talking about the bailout programs the government enacted and discussed how it was primarily targeted at big business, not the little guys, which we thought was rather unfair. Over the last 100 years, Americans have come to believe that “Big” meant best, that behemoths were generally regarded as invincible. If the recession has taught us anything, it is this is certainly not true.

In my industry, I remember when IBM was considered the giant you dared not trifle with, that you would be steam rolled if you weren’t careful. Arthur Anderson was also considered a major force to be reckoned with in the consulting and CPA fields. Times have changed though; for example, IBM is now a mere shadow of its old self when it dominated an entire industry, and Arthur Anderson evaporated as the “Big 8” shrunk and merged to become the “Big 4.”

A few scant years ago it would have been unimaginable to see the American automotive and banking industries coughing up blood like they are now, not to mention the huge financial institutions in peril. It’s no small wonder the stock markets sit on shaky ground. Obviously, bad decisions were made and one could argue greed played a significant role in this mess, yet these are the companies we thought were impervious to anything. “Big” does not necessarily mean best, nor does it make a company invincible, which we should have known all along.

This points out a couple of things; first, big business needs to be flattened in order to move with the same ease as companies a fraction of their size. They may be big, but they have to think small. Second, our government is certainly not invincible either. The same type of bad decisions made by big business can also be made by our government. The only difference is that it is unlikely that anyone will bail us out. We may be a great nation with a military second to none, but it is simple economics that can topple even the biggest and best of us. Doesn’t anyone remember how the Soviet Union fell?

This should be a humbling experience to all of us, as well as an invaluable lesson. Just remember the haunting expression, “As GM Goes, So Goes the Nation.” Let’s hope not.

“I do not believe the greatest threat to our future is from bombs or guided missiles. I don’t think our civilization will die that way. I think it will die when we no longer care. Arnold Toynbee has pointed out that 19 of 21 civilizations have died from within and not from without. There were no bands playing and flags waving when these civilizations decayed. It happened slowly, in the quiet and the dark when no one was aware.”

– Laurence M. Gould
President Emeritus
Carleton College

Such is my Pet Peeve of the Week.

Keep the Faith!

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

Tim Bryce is the Managing Director of M. Bryce & Associates (MBA) of Palm Harbor, Florida and has over 30 years of experience in the management consulting field. He can be reached at timb001@phmainstreet.com

For a listing of Tim’s Pet Peeves, click HERE.

Download Tim’s new eBook (PDF), “Bryce’s Pet Peeve Anthology – Volume I” (free) DOWNLOAD).

Copyright © 2009 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.

Posted in Life, Management, Politics | Tagged: , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »