Clean the Kitchen!

Dave Killion — August 22, 2010

Our family doesn’t get cable TV. This is because I cannot resist its charms, and will happily sit watching hour after hour, instead of doing something productive like writing blog posts. We did once have cable for a few months when it was offered as a free promo, and I found myself gravitating to the Food Channel. I especially enjoyed “Ramsay’s Kitchen Nightmares”, and particularly remember one episode in which the restaurant owner was having difficulty getting her staff to perform positively and productively.

At one point in the episode, Ramsay is near the main entrance, speaking with the owner, and a number of staff come in. Ramsay is astonished that the staff don’t acknowledge their boss in any way, and watch as they all head for the bar and order drinks. It turns out that when they aren’t working, the staff use the restaurant as a watering hole, and actually provide a fair bit of income for the business. So much so that the owner is afraid to alienate them.

Of course, this will not do, and Ramsay puts things to right by directing the owner to ban staff from the restaurant during off-hours. Being the boss is a one-way deal, and one cannot effectively take charge of people on whom one is reliant. One must serve the customers and direct the employees. It is, really, very simple. Yet we have a government that is in the very same position as the restaurant owner.

The government must serve the people. We are its customers. To do so, government must hire people, and the more government tries to do, the more people it must hire. But these employees are also customers, and when they are numerous and organized they have tremendous influence. Unlike Ramsay, we cannot choose to ban the workers (police, firefighters, teachers, and other public sector employees) from also being consumers. So the next best option is to limit the number of employees, and that means reducing the role of government by decreasing the amount it tries to do. After all, why should the employees at the local government run golf course have any more power over the political machine than you do?

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