Monday, February 25, 2019

Seven Fat Cows 4.3:Bureaucrats respond

Ebola cases were popping up at all of the DC and Baltimore hospitals. It was a mix of homeless people and members of the immigrant communities with epicenters in Bladensburg and Suitland.

Hospitals were hammered with absenteeism as personnel called in sick and used up personal days.

The only medical facilities that continued to run with anything approaching “normal” efficiency were the military hospitals where iron clad rules about AWOL and Dereliction of Duty kept the hospitals staffed.

The Beltway was in a panic and demanded that the Executive Branch “do something.”

A small rider was attached to an otherwise insignificant piece of legislation and rushed through both houses of Congress. The President quietly signed it into law that same afternoon. The rider enhanced the emergency powers act whereby the Executive Branch could press “critical workers” into the military, in effect, draft them.

Word was passed to hospital management to get their house in order or THEY would be drafted and inserted into the military two grades below the rank they would normally hold.

Absenteeism did not improve. The administrations were given orders to report. The majority complied. Bench warrants were issued for those who blew off the orders. When apprehended they were incarcerated in a military prison.

Law suites were filed claiming that forced indenturism in the military was involuntary servitude. The judges put them on the slow train to no-where. To a person, the judges had loved ones who needed medical services from time-to-time and had no truck for the absenteeism.

Then the union officials were contacted. They were told to get their house in order or their rank-and-file would be inducted into the military.

Absenteeism did not improve. Entire swaths of the medical community from Pennsylvania-to-Central Virginia were inducted into the military. Those who chose to not comply were apprehended and shipped to a tent city in the Arizona desert.

The exercise became the template for the centralization of the US economy. Private sector was "drafted" and assigned a rank two levels below what was normal. Local and state government employees were drafted and assigned a rank one level lower. There was going to be no ambiguity regarding chain-of-command. The very highest levels of government anticipated that enterprises would attempt to conserve human resources at the expense of the mission. Those attempts were anticipated and crushed.

Every rational response within the private sector and local government were seen as a threat in the battle against Ebola. Every threat was treated the same way.

The "Market" locked up under the triple threat of the frozen import/export sector, the credit markets vaporizing and the threat of Government take-over.

The cascading failures of the markets resulted in the metastasizing of government take-overs and they occurred at an exponentially increasing rate.



  1. I doubt that our government would go that far, yet, but it is a possibility. Have you read "The Last Centurion"? It is similar to your scenario, with some extra twists added: A pandemic flu, an airheaded president who wants to control everything, and a couple of very cold years when little to nothing grows. In that book, the government does little good but lots to screw up the good others are doing...

    1. I was told that during the Vietnam era employees working at places like Lake City and other "critical" military suppliers could be inducted into the military in the event of special labor unrest restricting output. Under those circumstances every employee on the payroll would be inducted.

      Regarding Last Centurion: OUTSTANDING book. I was so impressed that I wrote an essay about Chapter Six here ==>

      Thanks for reading and thanks for commenting!

    2. I hadn't read that article, but it is a very good point.

  2. Yep, Last Centurion is a good one, and what you posit is true. That threat was there...

  3. Dang. My pile of books to read is already tall enough to kill a man. I guess one more won't hurt.

    During the '08-'09 recession things came pretty close to locking up. Railroad cars piled up at sidings - miles of them everywhere. Freight itself had moved to a standstill - with some railcars filled with products that no one could take.


  4. One thing I just thought of that would make at least somewhat of a difference in this situation: The federal government has been pushing telework/ flexibilities wherever it can - and are using it as a reason to reduce buildings closings and the time off associated with them. I can see where any federal job that doesn't require direct customer contact, and any that could be done over a phone instead of in person, will be done remotely as long as there is internet access and power available. The push for this started 10 years ago during the pandemic flue scare and has grown since then. Initially the Trump Administration wanted to do away with it, but evidently they changed their mind.
    I can see more and more federal business, and by extension federally regulated business, being done using 'social distancing' methods in any kind of health scare.