A day at the DMV

I got a flat tire so I went to Pep Boys. They replaced it in 20 min. Impressive. I mention this as a datapoint to keep in mind for the rest of this post.

I had to go to the DMV to transfer my car to the new state where I live. First I had to make an appointment, which was only available a month out. Once I got there, even though my appointment was a specific time, they had me wait outside for a while in the cold. Then I had to visit the desks of three different people for some reason, and one of them yelled at me for not being prepared to take out the papers out of my folder fast enough. There were more waiting in between, and I finally got one paper filed with them after 4 hours. At that point they told me that I must come back another day for the second part of the process because they were closing for the day.

Considering how difficult of a time our government has just to file a few pieces of paper, we should be very careful before we grant them the powers to let it devise and implement solutions to some of the more difficult problems our society faces today.

It is a big mistake to allow the government more control of society in the name of solving whatever popular problem-de-jour that virtue-signaling activists with absolutely no knowledge of the most basic facts claim “needs more government intervention”, whether that’s poverty, sexism, racism, the environment, or the pandemic. Our history shows that when politicians and bureaucrats try to devise a scheme to solve these societal problems, their schemes do far more harm than good in most cases.

Minimum wage laws have led to increased unemployment of low-skilled workers. Affirmative action schemes have increased drop-out rates of the very students it claims to help. Rent control laws have led to a housing shortage and increasing rent. FDA regulations have killed more lives than they have saved. The Affordable Care Act, despite its wonderful name, has made health care less affordable. The post-analysis of “Americans with Disabilities Act” showed that it led to businesses hiring less, not more, people with disabilities. Federal subsidies of student loans led to skyrocketing college tuition. Well-meaning creation of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to increase home ownership led to sub-prime mortgages and the global financial crisis of 2008. Welfare programs have led to a fantastic rise of single motherhood, but they haven’t at all reduced rates of poverty. Occupational licensing laws cause a shortage of workers when and where they are needed most (think nurses in a state experiencing the worst time of a pandemic).

If there is one lesson we should all learn from our history, it is that our natural inclination should always be to resist when a government seeks to grow in power and size as it is doing now.

“It is hard to imagine a more stupid or more dangerous way of making decisions than by putting those decisions in the hands of people who pay no price for being wrong.” -Thomas Sowell

So that takes us back to Pep Boys. Why are they so good, while the DMV is so bad? Simple. Pep Boys would pay a heavy price for being bad, namely, going out of business, while the DMV pays no price whatsoever despite how bad they are at filing papers, or how poorly they treat the everyday Americans who have no choice but to keep going there.

Published by

Shin Adachi

I am a pianist and composer based in Los Angeles.