Thursday, June 28, 2018

Installment 7.10: A reluctant politician

“Brigid Barkley here with Kenny Lane in News from the Front Line” Brigid Barkley said.

“First a few words about Kenny Lane:  Word on the street is that you are El Patrón's best beer drinking buddy and that you were the first person to take a load of illegal corn into LA.”

“That ain't exactly true.”  Kenny said.

Brigid raised an elegant eyebrow, one that exactly matched the high arch of her cheekbones.  “Can you clarify?”

“I cannot claim to be El Patrón's favorite beer drinking buddy.  That honor belongs to his wife.  And I wasn't the first person to take a truckload of corn into LA.  That was Miguel, my business partner.  He took the first 10,000 pounds in on a flatbed.  I will admit to being the first person to take a 40,000 pound semi-load into LA, though.” Kenny said.

Then Brigid made Kenny do something that was almost entirely foreign to him; she made him sweat. "But in the past you shared many beers with him, right?"

"Well, yeah." Kenny said, wondering where the line of questioning was going.

"Can you verify that El Patrón loves Samuel Adams more than anything else?" Brigid kept digging.

Oh, shit!  The crazy witch knew something.  Kenny did what had always served him well.  He started talking about a tangential topic.  "That is true, but he and his wife generally drink home-brew.  It is a hell of a lot cheaper and they can dial it in to taste exactly like what they want."

Then, after giving Kenny a big scare, Brigid turned her head so half of it was off camera and gave him a big, slow wink.  She had every intention of editing out the interchange but it knocked Kenny off balance and she had an idea she wanted to bounce off him and wanted to capture his unfiltered response.

“This may sound crazy, but have you ever entertained the prospect of running for Prime Minister of Sedelia?” Brigid asked.

“No, I haven't but I am sure that I would do better than any of the jokers who are planning to run.” Kenny said.

“How can you make that claim?” Brigid asked.

“I would only work three days a week.  I could only do half as much damage as the typical politician.” Kenny said.

“You said you would only work three days a week.  Why?” Brigid asked.

Kenny actually looked a little bit sheepish.  “I promised my wife I would spend more time at home now that I am over sixty.  I used to spend most nights a week away from home while I was making a living.  Once I sorta retired I promised her that I wouldn't spend more than three nights a week from home.”

“Why wouldn't she just move to LA or where the new capital will be?” Brigid asked, mystified.  Brigid was a woman who could fly to the Hindu Kush or the jungles of the Congo and be perfectly at home.

“My wife has a garden.  She has roots.  She figures she is at a time in her life when she can ask for what she wants.  I reckon she has the right.”  Kenny said.

“Why do you think that is better?” Brigid asked.  This opinion was certainly in the minority, worldwide.

“I am a great admirer of Benjamin Franklin.  He though the motto for the young United States should be 'Mind your own business.'”  Kenny said.  “I think the most qualified people to make decisions should be the ones who will have to live with the consequences...not somebody in Sacramento or LA.”

“But don't you think that there is value to experts making decisions for complicated issues?” Brigid prodded.

“Experts are the problem.  Only an expert would think that a window screen is ugly and and it should be painted.  The next expert does not like the color and demands that it be repainted.  The third expert thinks it should have pictures of flower or slogans on it.  Pretty soon it becomes a mural instead of a window screen.  The experts pat themselves on the back and the family living in the apartment get heat stroke.” Kenny opined.

“But certainly society needs rules.” Brigid objected.

“Sure it does.  Very few rules.  The problem is that laws never die a natural death.  The laws stack up on atop another like coats of paint on the window screen and society chokes.  As a matter of fact, I will veto every law that does not automatically sunset.  Then folks can live under those laws for a while.  And they will have the chance to renew if it the law is good.” Kenny said.

The problem with over-regulation is that every regulatory hurdle discourages half of the folks who would otherwise work, or invest or innovate.”  Kenny said.

“You just made that up.” Brigid said.

“Nope.  I did not.  It is called Nissen's constant after Mark Nissen.  Every bureaucrat with a rubber stamp rejects half of the applicants and every level of approval discourages half the applicants.  Four levels of approval discourages  95% of the folks who want to start businesses and create jobs.  Ten levels discourage 99.9% of the applicants.”  Kenny said.  “The only way to revive Sedelia's economy will be to take a chainsaw to the regulations and start over, otherwise we will recreate all of Cali's problems.”

“So you would not be adverse to running for Sedelia Prime Minister?” Brigid asked.

“Sure.  Why not?  Can't be as hard as trucking or humping bags of potatoes.” Kenny said.

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