Saturday, May 11, 2013


Last fall as a group of us at work were eating lunch outside a road crew came by filling potholes. Three guys were on the crew one driving the truck the other two were shoveling asphalt patch and patting it down in the holes.  We commented to ourselves that it didn't look like they were doing a job that would last. Sure enough as spring rolled around the holes were bigger and deeper. The one hole became especially large 4 feet long by 18inches wide and down to the original brick road surface. After the towmotor got stuck in it last week the boss went to Home Depot and bought a few bags of asphalt patch. In about ten minutes he had the worst holes filled and packed down so it might last, time will tell.

So what does this have to do with spending. Actually I'm not sure but it does show the wasteful nature of government. The road crew was probably making in excess of 20 dollars a piece not counting administration and benefits that is sixty dollars an hour for the three man crew. To make matters worse they didn't even do a good job. The boss spent around twenty bucks and did a superior job.

I believe this is why there is so much waste in government, not that all government workers do shoddy work. It is more than that it is built in inefficiencies, excessive administrative costs, pensions that are overly generous and tax payer funded, workers that display a level of entitlement that leads to lackluster performance.

Contrast that with my employer he cannot afford do the job wrong and pay for it over and over again. We don't often get the opportunity to see side by side projects done both publicly and privately and there outcomes. People take for granted that things must be done by the government when sometimes a job can be done better and cheaper by private individuals.

Now I know that not everybody can or should be fixing there own roads but many of the things we expect of government could probably be outsourced to private companies and be done better and cheaper. States and cities are moving towards this slowly at least half the cities in northern Ohio no longer pick-up their own trash either they contract with a trash hauler or the leave it up to the individuals to contract their own trash removal.

We need to get back to the idea that we only ask the government to do the things we absolutely can't do for ourselves.  I believe if were honest with ourselves the list of thing we honestly need the government to do is a pretty short list. A list that has been expanded to encompass many things that are just nice to have done for us.