The Washington Monument Syndrome


The Washington Monument Syndrome. So named after a certain proposed budget cut, when an affected bureaucracy decided to cut the most noticeable thing from their budget, in that instance being the Washington Monument. It happens repeatedly; someone proposes to cut the budget, and instead of firing a few employees, or reducing pay, or even better, being careful about their spending, they immediately go for the thing that would be most noticeable, the one or more things that would cause public outrage.

Another example was the late government shutdown, when the bureaucracy shut down all federal parks. It did exactly what the bureaucrats wanted all along; the public demanded that the half of the government that was affected be brought back online. This was only hastened as stories of cancelled weddings, scheduled in federal parks, flooded the media during the shutdown. This is the whole goal of a bureaucracy whenever the Washington Monument Syndrome comes into affect; to cut what will be most needed or most missed by the public in order to excite public outrage, which is never aimed at the bureaucracy who made the cuts. It’s always aimed at those who are trying to cut the budget, and the budget cut ends up in a trash pail somewhere. The budget is never cut, but increasingly expanded.

How can we “cure” this Syndrome? First, we might just remove the bureaucracies involved altogether, and sell the monuments and all federal parks to private owners, or whatever happens to be managed by that particular group of bureaucrats. This would most certainly solve the problem. Second, we could determine what would get cut when we cut a budget, instead of leaving it up to the sly bureaucrats to do it themselves, since they’re naturally bound to cut what hurts the public most; what the public will miss the most. Those and possibly many other methods could be undertaken to forever eradicate the cancer that is killing the land of the free.