How Bureaucracies Begin

On Saturday, The Haymaker posted an article that clearly illustrates how bureaucracies are born. The article was about a recent Farm Bill passed in North Carolina. The agricultural interests in the State of North Carolina supported the bill. The bill itself was going to pass. So what happened? The legislature added the beginning of a bureaucracy to the bill, the bill passed, and a new bureaucracy is born.

The article reports:

“It was a requirement for landscapers to get licensed.  Yes, that’s right.  A licensing board, regulations, fees,  and licenses for people who cut grass for a living. Apparently, someone heard a landscaper expressing frustration about not being able to bid on state work because a license was required.  Instead of killing off all licensing requirements for landscaping, the requirements have been expanded to everybody.”

So what difference does it make? The small business that cuts your lawn now has to go through a licensing process. This costs the small business owner time and money. As a result of the extra cost, he has to charge you more to mow your lawn. As a result of that, you may buy a lawn mower and mow your own lawn. If enough people do that, the small landscape business owner will go out of business. Meanwhile, the  money paid to get the license will be used to set up a new bureaucracy. There will be more state workers to pay for and fund pensions for. There will be more office space and office equipment needed for the bureaucracy created. And like all bureaucracies in the past, every year the budget for this bureaucracy will increase.

This is how it begins. Even colonies of rabbits don’t grow as fast as bureaucracies.