It’s an understandable take from the voting population to desire term limits for politicians. They are, for the most part, the forward-facing piece of government. Especially in a world with social media and 24/7 news networks, it’s almost impossible to maintain a low profile as a politician – and most actively seek attention.  

Best for the constituents to know what’s going.

However, in most cases those politicians lack much of the power that those they represent believe they possess. Don’t believe that statement? Take, for instance, the infamous “Duplication of Benefits” fiasco that has plagued residents in the capital region since the Great Flood – as well as those from Houston, and Florida.

They failed to mention, as well, that DOB covered those who just applied for an SBA loan; it did not matter if you took money, or not.

The situation is simple – local officials pushed residents to sign up for both Small Business Association (SBA) loans and for benefits from the Restore Louisiana program.

The goal? The more who signed up, the more money would be doled out – that’s disaster recovery 101. The problem? A Duplication of Benefits provision prevented those who signed up for SBA loans to receive disaster grant money.

Nearly two years later, the Louisiana congressional delegation in Washington, D.C., struck gold – it was able to find a way to get a fix added to an aviation bill, which the president then signed.

And yet, there have been no payouts to potential beneficiaries – homeowners who did indeed apply for an SBA loan, didn’t have enough money to finish the job, and are waiting to move on with their lives. Why? Apparently, the president has to sign an extra waiver to provide Gov. John Bel Edwards permission to distribute the money – lest the Department of Housing and Urban Development deem the state in contempt and require a return of funds.

Word on the street is the waiver contains language that would require funds to go toward payment of SBA loans for those who took that money and used it for home repair.

A grant’s a grant and a loan’s a loan, but that’s neither here nor there; the folks who created the waiver were given a specific task – protect the government’s money at all costs, and if there’s anything that high-level bureaucratic management excels at, it’s protecting their fiefdom with a passion.

High-level bureaucratic management are those folks who are not elected but hired to run governmental systems – actions which are, for the most part, more complicated than they are given credit. In many cases, these hires are able to entrench themselves after decades of work, learning very nook and cranny of the rulebook.

And, in some cases, adding their own language to that book.

Congressman Garret Graves spoke a few weeks ago to the Rotary Club and cited an EPA official that “took him to task,” during a committee hearing. The official had, roughly, three decades of experience under his belt and knew the EPA rulebook backward and forward – a lesson learned for the congressman.

Another distinct issue that directly affects Livingston Parish is bureaucrats in the IRS not having developed a ruleset for Opportunity Zones. Two areas in Walker and one in Denham Springs have been opened up for investment, but without rules those zones remain unused.

Even at the U.S. Postal Service in Baton Rouge, despite rampant problems – especially post flood – the regional postmaster defended their position until, finally, the Inspector General’s Office came in to fix a multitude of problems (and fire a lot of people).

There’s a delicate balance between politicians and bureaucrats and throwing fresh blood at entrenched upper-management is a recipe for disaster.

Livingston Parish began with term limits on the parish president and Parish Council, whether that movement extends beyond this place at a later date remains to be seen.

However, if it does, the citizens of the United States must protect themselves from those who are looking to maintain their status quo – someone gave them a directive, and they will defend it furiously.

Lest the future be reported in double-stamped paperwork.

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