Thursday, May 14, 2009

Disproportionate response...

Thomas Jefferson stated that it is the natural tendency of government to grow. It's also the natural tendency of government to overreact.

We saw a lot of overreaction in the last month or so as we made our way through yet another flu season. People in the private sector tend to take the appropriate precautions and go on about their business as best they can, knowing full well that there is always the possibility they might catch a cold or the flu. While most businesses continued to operate, our local penal system barred visitors for a couple of weeks.

It's not that I'm opposed to all government over reaction. In fact, I would think we could get along quite nicely if several government agencies and departments would lay low until all danger had passed. Or longer.

And then occasionally, even government gets something right.

I attended a meeting yesterday between the Wayne County Commissioners and representatives of the Wayne County Builders Association. In response to fears that some homeowners might be bilked by less than scrupulous repairmen, the representatives proposed that the county should institute a contractor registration and bonding program. While no specific costs or fees were proposed, modeling a program after those in other areas, which include charges for registration and bonds for all trades, could add as much as $750.00 to the cost of a job in Wayne County. It's not any secret that the customer ultimately pays that cost.

We are entering the season now when people and businesses of questionable character will be approaching homeowners and offering their services. Homeowners should certainly exercise reasonable caution before agreeing to have any work done. Check references, check for insurance, and don't pay anything "up front". That's just common sense.

Thankfully, for now anyway, the county commissioners agreed that we don't need another layer of bureaucracy, or another hand of government in our pockets, covering something that common sense and reasonable precaution can handle for free.

I think that was the appropriate and proportionate response.

And I hope the city of Richmond comes to the same conclusion.



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