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I was surfing through some of my old writing this morning when I came across this topic:


Should former government employees be allowed to work for companies they used to regulate?

(clicking the blue underlined text will take you to a new article written by YOURS TRULY...)




I wrote to the YES side of the debate at that site, but personally tend to argue toward the NEGATIVE with my own philosophy. So here's my take on my take on the topic at hand (was that enough takes?) An interesting conundrum, certainly... so without further adieu...


Thank You For SmokingThis is not a question of merely working for a regulating agency. The receptionist or the park ranger has had little or no influence on those corporations under the watch of the EPA or the Department of the Interior or the FDA etc. etc....

No, this goes deeper. Those powers that be, the people who would lock up the Nick Naylors of the world and would regulate everything even remotely dangerous out of existence (a la Senator Ortolan Finistirre) have insider knowledge about the inner workings of the regulatory agencies they command. If allowed to hire on with the companies over which they commanded regulatory control, then there would be no recourse for those other companies in the same field who lose out on this unfair competitive advantage and are pushed out of market share.

It is easy to extol the virtues of free market employment as a warrant for allowing these regulators to become the regulated. After all, a lobbyist or a CEO can run for the Senate, so why shouldn't a senator be able to do such things in reverse? It is a matter of conflict of interest... or is it? Those interests, which in governmental employment were directed across the whole spectrum of a field, are narrowed when one takes employment in the private sector.

But then, it dawned on me. When I was recently in DC, my wife and I got a tour of the Capitol from a roommate of my wife's aunt. Lindy has worked for Rep. Jim Clyburn (D-SC), currently the House Majority Whip, for his entire time in Washington and even during the initial campaign to get him there... something like fifteen years. As we left the Democratic cloak room, having walked out onto the floor of the House of Representatives, stood at the lectern and felt the voting buttons through which our legislation is passed (or not), we headed down to the basement to catch the underground shuttle to the Rayburn House Office Building. As we walked along, Lindy was stopped by two gentlemen walking toward the dining room. They exchanged pleasantries and questions about Lindy's recent trip to Asia. Then we were introduced...

It hadn't even struck me until now, but one of the guys had worked in the Capitol until recently. Lindy had told us that he had left public employment to work in the private sector -- as a lobbyist! She seemed genuinely excited for him -- he was making more money, doing something he loved, and still getting to return to the Capitol on a regular basis. We already allow our public servants to escape for the private life...

When someone goes out for a political science degree or an international affairs degree or something of that nature, there are only so many places where employment can be found. If we can justify allowing an athlete to return to the field or court or road after a drug violation, citing the fact that there is a finite window of time in which he or she can earn money through sports, then I can in no good conscience say that I would deny someone the right to earn a living. Athletes are in a race against time; others like those people who work for regulatory agencies, are fighting against limited positions...


But what do you think, FanNation? SPIN!!! 


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