Of Monuments, Elevators and Government
Readers of this blog know that I tend to embrace libertarian/conservative viewpoints generally, and especially when it comes to government intervention into areas that I consider to be the responsibility of the private sector.
Although there are legitimate areas of federal involvement (defense, for example), in general the private sector delivers goods and services much more efficiently.
Once in a while we get a good reminder. Take the Washington Monument, for example. In 2011, a rare east coast earthquake damaged the Monument’s external masonry, and it had to be shut down to visitors for 33 months, while it was repaired. Two days after the gala reopening of the Monument, the elevator system failed, stranding visitors at the top. Apparently, it was known that the aging elevators needed to be replaced, and the 33-month shutdown for masonry repairs would have been the absolutely best time to do this, but the National Park Service had inexplicably authorized only one repair, not two.
Fast forward until now, and you guessed it. Last week it was officially determined that the elevators need to be replaced, and the Monument will be closed to visitors for the next nine months. Eleanor Holmes Norton, D.C.’s congressional representative, now says that not fixing the elevator during the masonry repair was a mistake. No kidding, Congresswoman.
I could have told them so, back then. In fact, I did – right here in this post from June 2014.
It boggles the mind. Maybe, instead of throwing high school insults at one another, our two presidential candidates could spend a little more time talking about how we can make the federal machinery operate with foresight and common sense. Of course, that will take Herculean efforts on the part of Congress — they will have to reform civil service rules so that the bureaucrats who make bone-headed decisions can be quickly replaced with clearer thinkers. Such fundamental changes will require 535 sensible members of Congress, though, in addition to one sensible president.
It’s a long way from here to there, but we need to keep at it.