Friday, June 24, 2011

Outrage over predictable bureaucratic behavior

This type of thing makes me laugh: Investigator: Makeover for airport boss's office while public repairs wait. Why? Because it's amusing (and sad) that people are surprised the bureaucracies - particularly government bureaucracies, who have no profit-loss motive - are wasteful in spending their money, and, furthermore, that bureaucrats look out for #1 first (and not the public interest, I suppose).

Here's the thing: This is not so shocking at all. It would not surprise me if, say, a Walmart store manager had discretionary funds that he could use to buy new carpet and a new desk chair in his office, but, in order to renovate the store, he would have to wait for corporate headquarters to release the cash and approve the project. There are two big differences here, though. First, if you are a Walmart customer and there is a leaking roof ruining the packaging on something you want to buy, it would be quite easy for you to patronize another store instead. Second, if Walmart mis-spends its money (as you perceive it), it's none of your business because it's not your money. In contrast, the airports are government-owned and operated, so tax dollars are in play and local monopolies are in effect.

Anyway, I picked this up because - outrage of outrages - the article mentions that a scanner was damaged by rain through the leaky roof at Cleveland's airport. I say "Hooray!" I don't like to see my tax dollars wasted, but, since the whole TSA is a waste, I'd rather see a minor improvement in freedom due to a scanner being taken off-line and funds being diverted to repairing said scanner instead of buying a second scanner or hiring another goon. I do hope that Congress will at some point stop giving the TSA so much money so they lose their equipment and workforce through attrition. One can hope!