Thomas Sowell

Some people still have Utopian ideals of a government run by ordinary folks. But when making serious decisions in real life, we go to people who know what they are doing -- whether what we want is a transmission fixed or medical treatment.

Nowhere is it more important to have people who know what they are doing than in Washington. And nowhere is it more important that what they are doing is carrying out the duties of the job, not spending their time focussed on getting re-elected.

Many people fear that government has gotten so complex that only the permanent bureaucrats can cope with it, so that turnover among elected officials would make the bureaucracy the real rulers of the country.

But the "expertise" of bureaucrats, like the expertise of Congressional staffers, is largely an expertise in personal political survival.

Do you seriously believe that FEMA has expertise in dealing with natural disasters, despite all their own disasters? Or that the Department of Education has expertise in education, when it has presided over decades of dumbed-down education?

These and other bureaucracies have expertise in political survival amid the cross-currents of special interests. Such "expertise" has caused more problems than it has ever solved.

One of the benefits of attracting a higher caliber of elected officials is that they can curtail or eliminate such counterproductive and corrupting "expertise."

Thomas Sowell

Thomas Sowell is a senior fellow at the Hoover Institute and author of The Housing Boom and Bust.

Creators Syndicate