Brexit is an interesting study. Especially so when you pay attention to more than the doom and gloom of the investor crowd. Given that apparent gloom, why would so many people vote to end the connection?
I think each of us has a little resentment when told what to do. The more powerless we are, the greater the resentment. The EU has many regulations in the interest of standardizing everything from the shape of cucumbers to the administration of justice.
Many of these appear to be things the market could sort out on its own and at no cost, but that is not how the EU Bureaucracy works. The conventional wisdom is that the bureaucracy is petty, intrusive, remote and contemptuous of those who disagree. They are unelected so lack even that impetus to do what the people want and need.
People oppose anything that is imposed. If the bureaucracy pushes back the opposition grows.
It is safe to say that no bureaucracy tries to do foolish things, but many accomplish that for want of the proper organizing principle. If the organizing principle becomes “Find things in society that are wrong and fix them,” the bureaucracy will grow endlessly. There will never be completion. From the bureaucrat view, that works because many of the things that are wrong are the result of earlier regulation. Business makes business.
We probably cannot agree on a universal organizing principle, but there should be some effort to include these parts:
- Do nothing that the market can look after. Some would say that you must provide for safety and some standards. That seems reasonable but if existing laws against fraud, assault, and the like were enforced strictly, there would be no need for more of those rules.
- Do nothing that costs more than the value it delivers. Minuscule value at great cost is a cause of a disturbed public. There are many departments of government who spend dollars to save dimes, or spend dollars to achieve near-perfect fairness over trivia. I have a client who received a letter from the government about how they had underpaid her on her husband’s survivor pension. He had died 41 years earlier. Five pages of explanation about taxation, future deposits, their apology for the oversight and the way the calculation should have worked, but did not. The catch up check attached was for less than $40.00 and the future deposits changed by about $0.09 per month. No one sane runs toward that kind of detail.
- Do nothing that involves lying or significant spin to achieve an ideological goal. If some disagree with you about the program, consider that they may be right. If you cannot prove they are wrong using objective material, it is premature to impose the program. The current obsession with man-made climate change fits here.
- Do things that make the citizen’s lives easiereasier, cheaper and more predictable.
Bureaucracies spawn politicians like Donald Trump. If he reduces the level of intrusion and many bureaucrats are dismissed as the result, they can blame themselves and their attitude.
In the interim, be happy we do not get the big government we pay for. Britain left in part because they started to see what happens with a big government that has few checks and balances.
Don Shaughnessy arranges life insurance for people who understand the value of a life insured estate. He can be reached at The Protectors Group, a large insurance, employee benefits, and investment agency in Peterborough, Ontario. In previous careers, he has been a partner in a large international public accounting firm, CEO of a software start-up, a partner in an energy management system importer, and briefly in the restaurant business.
Please be in touch if I can help you. firstname.lastname@example.org 866-285-7772