Bureaucratic Micromanagement

Government can’t function sensibly when honest, hard-working public service employees are prohibited from using their common sense.

Decades of rigid regulations, piled on top of each other by federal, state, and local governments, not only crush productive activity in our society, but also tie the hands of millions of public employees. All these dictates bar them from dealing sensibly with the issue directly in front of them. And if they dare exercise judgment or ask, “What’s the right thing to do here?,” they risk being punished for not following the rules.

School cafeteria workers are fired for giving a hungry student a free lunch and the administrators blame the “highly regulated and controlled” nature of federal food assistance programs. Firefighters are suspended for transporting in a firetruck an 18-month-old baby having seizures to the hospital. Nobody argues that they made the wrong decision, just that they broke a rule!

Legal boundaries are an important protection of freedom, to make sure that society functions in an adequate and safe manner. But the current state of “micro-regulation,” with literally thousands of rules imposed on people in all lines of work, makes people go brain dead—concerned only with following the rules instead of doing what’s right.


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