Regulation over people
Posted by aogTuesday, 02 April 2013 at 08:51 TrackBack Ping URL

This post to me exemplifies the mind set of the regulators —

After Hurricane Sandy struck last fall, “Today” reporter Jeff Rossen did an exposé on how some contractors were “preying on” homeowners. How? By performing repair work without the proper licenses.

The key attitude here is that regulations, particularly licensing, are more important than relief after a disaster. It’s not hard to see that for such people, regulations are not about improving people’s lives, but about control.

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Bret Tuesday, 02 April 2013 at 10:33
Well, I'm as much against building regulation as anyone (I've had some serious problems with corrupt inspectors during a remodeling years ago), but I don't think it follows that the attitude is that regulations are more important than relief. The point they would make is that dangerous construction is not relief in anything but the shortest term thinking and reconstruction and repair after a disaster is the most likely time that people will cut corners and do something stupid that they might regret later and/or possibly foist on a unsuspecting buyer later.
erp Tuesday, 02 April 2013 at 11:18
Bret, isn't that akin to: "Do you know who your daddy is?" Of course, despicable contractors prey on people when they're desperate, but even a stop gap measure is better than nothing. Waiting weeks and counting for an inspector who may or may not be the mayor's no-nothing third cousin to start the paperwork for a license, is far worse IMO. Ask the folks in NJ who are still living in tents whether they'd rather be redoing some shodding repairs on their homes or to be still waiting months later for Obama's minions to get off their a$$es. The difference is that bad contractors don't last and public service apparatchiks go on forever.
Annoying Old Guy Tuesday, 02 April 2013 at 11:28
Bret; If that had been the argument, I could see the point. But use of the terms "preying" and "rip off" belie a rather different point of view.
Hey Skipper Tuesday, 02 April 2013 at 15:32
Jeff Rossen did an exposé on how some contractors were “preying on” homeowners. How? By performing repair work without the proper licenses.
There's a whole bunch of stuff tied up in this one sentence. First, there's the the glaring category mistake -- it isn't the lack of licenses that constitutes "preying", but rather inadequate work, regardless of who does it. The unquestioned assumption here is that the possession of a license is a perfect proxy for knowledge and skill sufficient to do the job and the inverse. I suspect that with regard to contractors, the affirmative statement is, if not perfect, at least pretty good. Contractors have to invest considerable time, money and effort to get a license, and are subject to losing it in the event of malfeasance or incompetence. Consequently, contractor licenses (and building codes) greatly increase transactional efficiency. Depending upon the occupation or product, licenses and codes are about far more than control. For instance, if you are boarding an airliner, the fact that your pilots possess licenses that require significant investment, experience, and periodically demonstrated skill means you don't have to investigate their backgrounds beforehand. Because, in essence, the FAA has done that for you. So I don't know if Jeff Rossen believes that regulations are more important than relief; rather he is assuming that people who don't have licenses are very much more likely to lack the skill and motivation to do the properly.
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