Guilty Until Proven Innocent


How bureaucrats hinder, not help, business.

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I was originally going to title this piece “Bureaucrats Gone Wild” as I wanted to draw attention to the government officials who make life a living Hell for the rest of us, but I already covered this in an earlier column.

It’s bad enough government bureaucrats create their own little fiefdoms to express their self-importance, but it is how they try to play mind games with the taxpayer that disturbs me more, particularly young ones. Let me give you a couple of examples…

I’m involved with a nonprofit group who owns and maintains their own building. Not surprising, they are subject to the same rules and government codes as everyone else, such as health, fire, and building inspections. For years, the group diligently maintained their building and conformed to ever-changing regulations. However, one year they were visited by a young fire inspector who wrote up an extensive list of code violations. This came as a complete surprise to the group. Although a few of the items on the list were legitimate, there were others that could best be described as superfluous. Nonetheless, the group complied with the requests, at considerable expense, but are now leery of any more inspections by this young power-hungry bureaucrat.

In another instance, I had a friend who did some minor work in South America.  For some unknown reason, a young IRS agent targeted his company for an audit and, finding out about the South American connection, accused my friend’s business of making millions of dollars in South America of which they owed considerable back taxes. This was, of course, fallacious, yet it understandably shocked the company’s management as they adamantly maintained their innocence. Nonetheless, the IRS agent asserted his contention thereby forcing the company to hire a team of accountants and lawyers to successfully refute the charges, at considerable expense I might add.

In both examples, the bureaucrats considered the defendants guilty until proven innocent, not the other way around as we would normally expect. Reasoning with the young bureaucrats was out of the question, as they saw this as an opportunity to make a name for themselves. Not only did their inexperience lead to bad relations with the people they were suppose to be serving, but cost people a lot of money to defend themselves over frivolous charges. I guess it’s no small wonder why people do not trust or respect their government officials, particularly “Bureaucrats Gone Wild.”

Keep the Faith!