Only the experienced need run
A bill will be introduced at this next Hawaii State Legislative session that
would mandate new qualifications for those running for state or county offices.
Basically, it would require that to be qualified to run for public office,
candidates must have at least three years experience working in each of the
public and private sectors.
This bill deserves a lively debate not only in the
legislature but also at the dinner table because the idea does have merit even
if somewhat controversial.
For example, it is hopeless discussing the values of
bureaucracy with someone who has never worked in the public sector. Similarly, one
can rarely achieve a constructive dialogue about privatization with people who
have only ever worked in the public sector; they usually have little idea how competitive
business operates. This is especially true of those who have attended government
schools, then government universities, and then gone into a government job,
such as public school teaching.
By private sector employment, the bill defines that as full-time
in businesses that operated in a highly competitive environment. In short,
working for the phone company or the electric company, or Matson will not
The bill defines public sector employment as full-time in
local, state, or federal government — including military.
Here are the benefits:
The essence of experience in the competitive private sector
is an understanding that income for the enterprise, and thus ultimately one’s
own compensation, has been exchanged freely and voluntarily for the
enterprise’s products and services and thus you, as an employee, are fully
aware of where your pay is really coming from and — more importantly — what
will keep it coming.
It is also gaining the understanding that virtually all
companies treat their customers and employees honestly, not because the owners
are necessarily nice and decent folks, but because it pays to do so.
The essence of experience in the public non-competitive
sector is an understanding of the value of bureaucratic thinking, and the
protections we enjoy because bureaucrats are ensuring that every “i” is dotted
and every “t” crossed.
It is also useful to experience that personal incomes derive
from negotiation and rationalization rather than competition.
The merits of this bill are that legislative discussion is
likely to be far less vitriolic than what presently prevails. Secondly, the legislation
that issues from each session would be more sensible since each of the legislators
would have experience of both the public and private sectors.
Under these conditions it is highly unlikely that the bottle
cap bill, the gas cap bill and sundry tax credit legislation would ever have
seen the light of day.
On the other hand, management competency would be far more
highly valued and thus, the traditional public worker complaints about their
managers would get far more attention than they ever have.
This is legislation that is bound to cause significant
discussion in the upcoming session.
is a regular columnist whose footnoted columns are
Spoofs are not footnoted.