November 18, 2003

The Invisible Dead

Jack Dunphy's latest NRO article chronicles another instantiation of the problem of the invisible dead. This time it's about how the LAPD consent decree is costing lives by burying officers in paperwork.

His last sentence says it all "The price of all this bureaucracy will one day be measured in lives." The problem is that it won't be. Bureaucracy thrives on the principle that the acts of regulation have easily traceable positive consequences and whatever negative consequences exist should be as hard to track down as possible. This is pure CYA raised to an art form. If gathering data on negative consequences would be elevated to an equal priority as the positive consequences, a great deal of government action would be exposed for the horribly self-defeating idiocy that it is.

Instead we end up with long term disasters like the "Great Society" programs that took a decades long trend of steady improvement and goosed progress for a few years, only to subsequently flatline progress thereafter. The net result is that if we had continued the old regime, we'd have fewer poor today than we do after we engaged in huge exercises in "compassionate" government.

Back to the LAPD, the consent decree is there to protect hispanic and other minorities from discrimination. I wonder if anybody has calculated the cost in decreased police effectiveness to those same communities. Sadly, I also wonder if those pushing for such agreements would even care about the results.

Posted by TMLutas at November 18, 2003 06:21 PM