Wednesday, June 29, 2011

It's like we make our own tumors on purpose.

What's the purpose of a bureaucracy? I mean, let's say we created a new federal agency, the Federal Bureau of Helping Little Old Ladies Cross Streets; what is its primary function?

Why, to help little old ladies cross streets, right?

Wrong. It is to ensure salaries and jobs for Federal Street Crossing Agents and their Supervisors, and pensions for their future retirees, in perpetuity.

Now, you may become a Federal Street Crossing Agent for the noblest of reasons. Grandma got run over at 5th & Elm when you were little, and so you busted ass in college so you could qualify for the elite bureau and see that nothing like it ever again happened to anybody else's grandma. Of course, once you start working at the Bureau, you spend all day immersed in a Street-Crossing-centric world, talking about the dangers of little old ladies and streets with other Agents, watching training videos, reading briefings... Why, if every American knew the real dangers waiting for their own grandma at the corner of 5th & Elm, there'd be outrage!

Meanwhile, the bureaucracy of the FBHLOLCS, realizing the only way to justify its existence and thereby secure continued funding, lobbies congress and the executive to expand its mission. Within twenty or thirty years, "little" will be defined as anything under seven feet tall, "old" as anything over eighteen, "lady" will include all members of both sexes, and "street" will be defined as any road, railroad, path, or trail.

Am I lying?
.

29 comments:

Marty said...

Don't forget that they may need a SWAT team at their disposal.

McVee said...

OK, to stay true to myself and my mission I was going to suggest never crossing a street until the TSA is abolished.

Hmm. I do have to get to work though.
And as others have pointed out there are big streets out there that are difficult to cross.

What to do, what to do.

OK. I give up. Were fooked.

;)

Matthew said...

Yes, Minister and Yes, Prime Minister covered this ground better than anyone else: http://amzn.to/m6CRER

If you haven't seen them, they are well worth watching. The two series are funnier than just about anything else and they paint a fairly accurate view of the inner workings of government.

Anonymous said...

Every bureaucracy has a nominative purpose and an actual purpose. For the first 3-5 years of its existence, they are the same: the stated purpose of the bureaucracy. After 3-5 years the actual purpose becomes the perpetuation and expansion of the bureaucracy and to this goal is devoted most of the effort expended by the bureaucrats.

Anonymous said...

Too right, Tam. Even in my own agency (which has the noble core mission of testing new weapon systems before the thing deploys or goes into full-rate production) I see our very own Obama appointee making every possible effort to expand the core mission and thus the organization. A flat budget year-to-year is treated like penury, and billets are golden and fought over.

Leatherneck

Desertrat said...

Lessee: We have the USDA, whose budget is greater than the totality of US farm profits. Amazing, considering how well ADM is doing with its gasahol.

And the USDOE, which has a helluva budget yet accomplishes little or nothing in the way of improving our energy situation.

I won't even get into the de-education thing.

Among others...

Jake (formerly Riposte3) said...

You forgot the most important part! Eventually, it will be a felony, punishable by up to 20 years in prison, for anyone meeting the expanded definition of "little old lady" from crossing the street without FBHLOLCS "assistance."

Anonymous said...

The Ohio Fusion Center?!?!?!

Da Buckeyes got Da Bomb?

AT

Borepatch said...

You've described Pournelle's Iron Law of Bureaucracy.

Robert said...

"The bureaucracy is expanding, to meet the needs of the expanding bureaucracy"

Quote by Oscar Wilde, spoken by Leonard Nimoy when you discover the technology of bureaucracy when playing Civilization 4.

Art said...

In addition to federal, state, and local assets, several other non-government entities are participating in today's operation

WTF? Would love to see an "after action report" of who all was fielded on this Easter Egg Hunt. FOI anyone?

perlhaqr said...

Power attracts those who want power. Bureaucracy attracts bureaucrats.

SpeakerTweaker said...

Looking at the alphabet soup for your new bureau, I kinda read it as a word (eff-bee-holics). Hmm...

So a quick mind-jaunt against the word "alcoholics" and the common thread came screaming out at me.

An addiction.

I'm also a couple cups of coffee behind, just in case this sounds as crazy as it looks.



tweaker

atlharp said...

"The exercise not only enhances security throughout the region; it gives TSA and our security partners the opportunity to work cooperatively," said TSA Columbus Federal Security Director Donald Barker. "This work increases our preparedness to respond in case of an emergency."

This work increases their preparedness in case Marshal Law is ever declared. By the way "security partners"? Seriously, the TSA are a bunch of guys wanding grandma's diaper, what they hell do they have to do with people who actually work for a living?

Anonymous said...

Sadly, every office in private industry is becoming much as you described. More managers to feed more reports to managers above them but no workers to do the actual work the managers request.

Bubblehead Les. said...

Well, having been born down that way, with lots of kin there, anything that the The Stupid Agency has jurisdiction over is at least an hour away (Charleston, WV Airport, with Columbus, Oh and Pittsburgh, Pa even farther away). So those Yahoos running "Security Drills" down there is the equivalent of the Mine Safety Administration running Rescue Drills on Catalina Island. But since the nearest Hotbed of Radical Student Activity would be coming from Athens, Ohio at Ohio University, which is one county over, I don't think that was a purpose of the Drill, either, since those SDS types are friends of Barry's.

So this was either A) Practice for the Gestapo to be able to Strike at Midnight when they get the Word, or B) some TSA Bureaucrat's version of the National Guard's Summer Training for Stupid People, or C) everyone involved was scouting out Treestands for Deer Season this Fall on the Taxpayer Dime, since the number of Participates in this drill increased the size of Washington County by 30%.

Somehow, I don't think Al Queda has a plan to ship an Assault Force on to an Ohio River Barge and seize the I-77 bridge over the river.

But under some of the COG PLans, if DC gets a dirty Bomb planted inside Michelle's Vegetable Garden, WV is supposed to be the Main Refugee Area. Perhaps they want to practice keeping DC Metro Residents from invading the Horseshoe in Columbus?

staghounds said...

Entirely true.

Could we not say the same for the family?

Or even for our individual selves?

Tam said...

Bubblehead Les,

"Well, having been born down that way, with lots of kin there, anything that the The Stupid Agency has jurisdiction over is at least an hour away (Charleston, WV Airport, with Columbus, Oh and Pittsburgh, Pa even farther away)."

Silly taxpayer! It's the Transportation Security Authority, not the Commercial Airline Security Authority. Its mission is to be "responsible for security in all modes of transportation", according to USC 49 § 114(d). Think about that this morning when you transport yourself from your front door to your mailbox. ;)

Tam said...

staghounds,

Yes. A bureaucracy is just a man-made form of life. Mary Shelley told us this would happen...

og said...

"Yes. A bureaucracy is just a man-made form of life. Mary Shelley told us this would happen..."

Mary Shelly was a piker. The monster was pathetically mortal. Even Lovecraft could not imagine a seething horror as vile and cancerous and unmanageable as a Bureau.

Anonymous said...

Hum, if the TSA critters leave the security of airports and spend more time in open country ...

Now where did I leave my Leupold?

John A said...

Government bureacracy additional reading: Keith Laumer`s Retief stories. Combine with the previously mentioned Yes, Minister TV series.

Anonymous said...

Bad parallel...

God made me responsible for self and family. He did NOT make me responsible for this cancerous growth of malfunctionaries and he sure as HELL didn't make them responsible for me.

But talk about clamping down on free-milk teats, just wait 'til we start trying to wean these life-sucking bastards from their little fiefdoms.

AT

Anonymous said...

More and more it's looking like Obama's getting that private army he wanted during the election, after all.

Anonymous said...

Having been involved with an FeeBEE TSA dog and pony show I can say you will more than likely die from an overdose of PowerPoint than anything tactical.

The only real fighting we saw was over who was going to give the press briefing on how wonderfully the table top exersise went.

Gerry

Anonymous said...

Yes Minister and Yes, Prime Minister were two of the funniest british shows of their period.

I knew some bureucrats at the time, and they frankly viewed it as a humourous documentary.

Well worth the money.

WindRider said...

Come on, folks, don't you remember the handy-dandy civilian private army, as well funded as the military, that Obama said was so sorely needed during the 2008 campaign?

Startin' to look like it. They already have the flying public intimidated.

Justthisguy said...

Tam, Ma'am? Jerry Pournelle was there before you, many years ago, with his Iron Law of Bureaucracy. Those guys look out for themselves, and to hell with the rest of us, or even (ha!) the ostensible purpose of the agency they purport to "work" for.

Tam said...

I am very familiar with Pournelle's Iron Law of Bureacracy. Further, I'm pretty sure I have at least one copy of every book that has his name anywhere on the spine.