Opinion: License to be Stupid

By John Prince

These days you need a license to be anything. Doctor? OK I get that. Airline pilot? Yup. Hair braider? Nope.

John Stossel recently posted a column describing the tribulations of a lady who wanted to give walking tours of Savannah, GA. The City told her that she needed a license. That involved a months-long study sessions (in which several of the material facts were wrong), physical fitness test and a $100 fee— among other requirements.

Mr. Stossel’s beef was with the City officials and council who mandated this silliness. In the commentary section a reader suggested that politicians be licensed with tests on areas such as the Constitution. Great idea. I advocate the same licensing standards for bureaucrats as well.

There are tests known as the Civil Service Exams for about 20% of federal workers including the foreign service, law enforcement and air traffic control. Which makes sense. But for the other 80% here are a couple of questions that might be on their licensing exam.

The regulations for remediation of excess turnip stalks is due to be released on June 1. Which option would you choose?

  1. Delay the release by six months and add 72 more pages of regulations
  2. Delay the release by a year and add 144 more pages of regulations
  3. Implement (2) and retroactively prosecute anyone that doesn’t meet the June 1 deadline
  4. Loudly announce “That’s not my department!” to anyone who asks and ignore them forever

The correct answer is, of course (3).  

Then there’s the politician who needs a license.

A large sinkhole forms on the interstate at the line between two states. Cross country traffic is completely stalled. Which option would you choose?

  1. Form a bipartisan committee next month to look into the situation and report back in a year
  2. Blame the other political party for their lack of concern and exit in a sanctimonious huff
  3. Put up big signs announcing that the road is closed and these are your tax dollars at work
  4. Vote to hire your cousin the contractor to repair the damage and get a 20% kickback

If you answered (4) you could no doubt pass the politician licensing exam with flying colors.

How about cell phone salespeople?

A customer comes in with a question about saving their contact list. Which option would you choose?

  1. Recommend that they upgrade to a new, more expensive phone
  2. Strongly suggest that they upgrade to a new, more expensive phone
  3. Demand that they upgrade to a new, more expensive phone
  4. Sell them a tacky rubber phone cover with a built-in pouch for business cards

As you probably quickly figured out, it’s a trick questions. (1), (2) and (3) are all correct, although (3) is more correct than the other two. Get real! There’s no money for you in a tacky phone cover.

What questions would you ask for a license?

2 thoughts on “Opinion: License to be Stupid”

  1. Manijeh Badiozamani

    Although cloaked in humor, this article has a very strong point! There must be standards set for becoming a politician.
    I knew of some folks who could not do ANYTHING, and decided for run for political office!

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