I was just following orders.

The bureaucratic administrators of the National Park Service shut down the new WWII memorial for the specific purpose of making life as difficult for average Americans as they possibly could. The fact that these administrators did this really isn’t a surprise, nobody like having their pay cut. Nobody likes seeing their budget reduced. The difference between a private sector job experiencing a pay cut or budget reduction and a government bureaucracy experiencing the exact same thing though is worlds apart.

The difference is this, in the private sector, when employes are forced to take a pay cut or their department is forced to take a budget reduction, it’s because they have violated the first and foremost rule of business, their operating expenses have exceeded their revenue intake. Unlike government bureaucracies, private industry operates under one involute rule, businesses absolutely must maintain a minimum profit margin to remain in business.

All business have something called capital expenditures. When a business first opens, those capital expenditures are paid for out of the businesses start up, or seed money. Throughout their projected lifespan they are maintained through a budgetary line in the businesses overhead expenses. If they ever have to be replaced, or new equipment purchased, it comes out of the businesses profit margin. No equipment lasts forever, sooner or later it has to be replaced, one of the leading reasons for private industry businesses to fail, is a failure of management to properly dispose of profit margin revenues.

The proper profit margin disposal for any private industry business is to divide the profit margin revenue into separate accounts, one for personal payouts. This account covers executive, senior management, and employe benefits and profit sharing. The other covers capital expenditures. A lot of business employe a risky strategy regarding their capital expenditures profit margin disposal accounts. Rather than maintaining liquidity in those accounts, they maintain credit accounts calculated against the percentage of profit margin that might be required to make a capital expenditure. This is risky because unforeseen events can dramatically alter interest rates on available credit.

Government bureaucracies on the other hand are not constrained by these rules. They do not have to make a profit, or maintain capital expenditure liquidity accounts or lines of credit sufficient to cover a capital expenditure. They are under no constraint to ensure that their operating expenses do not exceed their revenue. Their only constraint is to operate in such a manner that they do not grossly exceed their budget. Even that no longer seems to be much of a constraint. In today’s government mentality world, asking for a 12% budgetary increase, and only receiving a 7% increase is considered a budget cut.

“It’s a cheap way to deal with the situation,” an angry Park Service ranger in Washington says of the harassment. “We’ve been told to make life as difficult for people as we can. It’s disgusting.”

There is a particularly weird irony to what this unnamed park service ranger said when taken in the context of the NPS shutting down memorials to WWII. When the Nazi’s were brought to trial in Nuremberg, one of the most often repeated excuses for the atrocities they committed was… “I was just following orders”. These WWII veterans, usually referred to as “The Greatest Generation” were the very men and women who risked and scarified their lives bringing an end to a government where “I was just following orders” was standard operating procedure.

To stand before them, in light of why those very memorials even exist, and utter the lame ass excuse that your disgusting reprehensible behavior amounts to nothing more than “I was just following orders” is not merely stupid or offensive, it amounts to no less than the most insulting thing that can be said or done. It’s a piss poor excuse that holds no more validity today than it did in 1945.


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