Thursday, 15 December 2011

Bureaucratic Red Tape - By Mike Sands

     Once upon a time, the Government had a vast scrapyard in the middle of the desert.  A thought occurred to them that someone might steal from it at night, so they decided to hire a night watchman.  Then they thought, ‘how does the night watchman know how to do his job without instruction?’  So they created a planning committee, one person to write the instructions and one person to do time studies.  Then they thought, ‘how do we know the night watchman is doing the tasks correctly?’  So they hired a quality control department and hired 2 people; one to do the studies and one to write the reports.  They then realized these employees needed to be paid so they created a timekeeper and a payroll officer.  But then they thought, ‘who will be accountable for all these people?’ So they created an administrative section with an administrative officer, an assistant administrative officer, and a legal secretary.  After a year of having this command service, they realized they were$18,000 over budget, and decided they needed to make cutbacks.  So they fired the night watchman.  Government bureaucracies represent 48% of our Gross Domestic Product, and have been under increasing pressure to be more cost efficient. They are perceived to be less efficient than their private sector counterparts because they are not profit orientated and have exceptional job guarantee packages. Stories of people being on hold for extended times, red tape and run-arounds are common.  The biggest complaint from citizens is all the paperwork that these bureaucracies force you to fill out in order to obtain simple services such as a passport, licence or title transfers.  It’s almost as though the bureaucrats have taken a course on making the paperwork so long and arduous so that they alone are able to comprehend it.  A good example is the following statistic on the amount of words used:  Pythagorean theorem—24 words, The Lord’s prayer—28 words, Archimedes principal—67 words, The ten commandments—167 words, Gettysburg address—286, declaration of independence—1300 words, Constitution of United States  with all 27 amendments—7818 words, U.S. regulations on the sale of cabbage—26,911 words.
     I recently had a run in with the bureaucratic system.  I was sent forms to fill out for long term disability.  I filled out all relevant sections, leaving the ‘return to work’ section that is reserved more for people who say have a sore back and will likely have a future return date.  The ‘bureaucrat’ called me and said I forgot to fill out the above section.  I explained that this section was not relevant to my situation.  End of conversation.  A few days later, I get a call from my union stating they wanted to release me because I didn’t fill out the paperwork (a clever ploy to get rid of me to avoid paying my premiums as I’m a liability at this time).  No problem, I said to myself, I’ll fill out the paperwork and send it in:  SECTION 1: Expected date of return:  ‘TOMORROW’.  SECTION 2:  alternative jobs you could do if unable to do current job:  MOVIE CRITIC.  Section 3:  list dependants: THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT.  Section 4:  Check this box if you are blind (this one wasn’t on there, but it wouldn’t have surprised me!).  The only requirement was FILLING IT OUT and they got what they wanted.  It’s too bad if they can’t take a joke.

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