Do you agree or disagree with the following statement: "Bureaucrats are lazy, inefficient workers who are part of an entrenched, powerful institution?"To which I responded:
I agree with this statement, for the most part. I'll start with where I disagree. I disagree that ALL bureaucrats are lazy. There are some very civic-minded people working for our bureaucracy that have the best of intentions and have the good of our country at heart and try to do the very best they can.
That being said, bureaucracy, but its very nature is not conducive to efficiency and hard work. In the private sector, workers have to work hard and prove themselves efficient to maintain their job, and the business itself craves efficiency and hard work to maintain profits and remain competitive against other competitors. A private organization's goals are profits.
A bureaucracy's goal, but contrast, is to legitimize its existence. Government workers unionize and strike to protest paycuts, etc. Should a private business become inefficient, the business could become insolvent and fail while the good businesses thrive. If a bureaucracy becomes inefficient and shows few results, a bill will probably be passed to throw more funding at the agency!
Bureaucracies are also very powerful and entrenched institutions. I can't think of a single instance where one was successfully abolished. Abolish the Department of Education? Abolish the Environmental Protection Agency? It seems that once these responsibilities have been ceded to inefficient government, it somehow becomes blasphemy to say that someone other than the government may be better at tackling these issues, and the agencies hence become immortal, and the government has a virtual monopoly over the activity in question.
A perfect current example is the TSA situation, where a lot of people are becoming very unhappy with the extensive scanning the government monopoly (TSA) is requiring at all airports. After 9/11, in rash action to a massive tragedy, the Senate voted 100-0 to approve the TSA, essentially taking over airport security in the United States.
What does the TSA have to lose if they prove inefficient and a shoe bomber or something gets on a plane? They won't be fired, they won't lose customers, and they'll simply have more money dumped into their budget.
Private airlines would best be suited to handle their own airplane security. They have skin in the game and will lose customers if they show to be unsafe airlines or treat customers in a way that will turn them away.
Better yet, the private sector has an advantage, where airlines could exploit niches. One airline may boast themselves as being the safest in the air, and customers know going with that airline will subject them to higher, more invasive levels of screening, and the customer accepts that.
Another airline might realize that other customers would rather keep some dignity and sacrifice some safety on their flight by using lesser screening methods. There is a tradeoff; but customers get to decide for themselves. It's impossible to prevent all the 9/11 type incidents, but since private industry has the most to lose, they also have the most incentive to prevent such a tragedy. Bureaucracy, on the other hand, is one-size-fits all and does not let customers decide what level of security is important to them.