Yesterday, Congress looked into reports that bureaucrats at the Department of Labor showed little enthusiasm for investigating complaints of “wage theft” and unfair labor practices. Independent investigators found that calling the complaint line usually resulted in no action at all, as workers at the agency openly complained about a lack of resources and advised callers to just find another job. The GAO issued a stern report about the failure of the DoL to act on behalf of workers, and Gregory Kutz, Managing Director of GAO’s special investigations unit, testified before Congress to the issue.
This gave Rep. Tom Price, the chair of the Republican Study Committee, an opportunity to point out the basic problems in expanding government power. Watch this colloquy and enjoy Kutz’ obvious discomfort:
Try to imagine, in a government-run health care system, calling to complain about a lack of treatment. What would be the answer — “find another country”? “You’ve lived long enough”? “I’ll bet you’re a hypochondriac”? “Can’t I just eat my waffle?”
The GAO should investigate when government agencies fail to do their jobs and when laws do not get enforced. But we should also remember that bureaucracies serve themselves first above all things, and that placing less power in their hands benefits us more in the long run. At the very least, maybe we should concentrate on fixing what isn’t working before expanding bureaucracies exponentially.