As a small business owner recently on a sales call in Battle Creek, I was amused to witness four Michigan State Police Suburbans parked outside a restaurant during the lunch hour left running while four state police officers dined on their chosen fare.
It appeared the vehicles were left running because they had an animal in each … but being the weather was mild, it puzzled me. If it was their personal vehicle and their personal pet, would the outcome have been the same? But being it was not, who would seemingly care?
If we want to save money — and lots of it — to spend on our roads and bridges, then I would add to the list of expendable services the Michigan State Police. The local police and county sheriffs can cover the vast majority of whatever the state police seemingly do, other than harass truck drivers and motorists (my observation only).
Add to that list city, county, state and college administration positions, and the savings just continue to grow. Well over 100 percent of tuition cost increases the past several years are attributable to administration staff increases. What all these people do when everything is now seemingly done “on the web” remains a mystery to me.
Whenever you spin the bottle and it stops while pointing at you, there will be some unease and some uncertainty … what comes off next? What will others think? What is to become of me? Aren’t I as important as the next guy? But like eating an elephant, it starts with the first bite.
Almost all companies’ administrations are too big — the government would not be an exception. Of course, it is hard to give up a good job with good benefits. But trade places with the average guy and maybe what some of these agencies do is just not that important — except to those doing the doing. Obviously, writing a speeding ticket to citizens driving cars that today travel faster and safer is an important function for someone making good money with even better benefits, isn’t it?
The irony really is that while the Michigan Economic Development Corp. may have initially started out trying to “create jobs,” what it has become is an entity now trying first and foremost to “save jobs” … starting with its own. And like any good bureaucracy, the state police and college campuses have swelled in the rank and file of those that do very little while commanding superior pay and benefits. I think it goes something like this: If you are gone too long on vacation or out ill and no one misses you, then maybe it is time for you to go.
In the end, why does the MEDC get to pick the winners and losers anyway? Why is it the master of the purse? And why all the cops? Is John Q. Public really that bad of a person?
Finally, let’s make college affordable again and cut the administrative and support staff. Professor Klump can grade his own papers and little Johnny can figure out (on the web, no less!) how to get financial aid. All these people in make-believe and made-up jobs and fairy-tale posts can join the private sector with the rest of the rank and file, where if you do not get out of bed, you do not eat.
There will always be a lot of facts and figures and important statistics as to why these entities we created should stay, but let’s be honest — do they need to?