Trust in government means that we all feel that weÂ have a fair shake.Â That is,Â everyone lives by the rules. Some contractors are not exempt fromÂ permits, inspections, and fees while others slide through without that extra cost and the burdens of, oh, safety.Â Likewise, getting a license, corporate status, or tax approval is the same process for everyone.Â Some are not permitted to ease right through while others are subjected to rigorous and delaying reviews.Â Equal application of government processes, procedures, and regulations is what distinguishes countries with economic development fromÂ those that never seem to get the wheels turning.
The Barometer has heardÂ this equality of applicationÂ described as the bucket phenomenon in other countries.Â We are all together in the bottom of the bucket trying to rise to the top.Â The climb is difficult, but we all make it out the same way — through hard work and determination.Â However, in some countries, there who are those at the top of the bucket and those climbing ahead of us use those at the top to their advantage.Â They use sticks to push us back, orÂ grease the skids so that some continue to climb as others slip to the bottom again.Â Because ofÂ what those who superviseÂ the climbÂ areÂ doing at the top of the bucket,Â many of usÂ can never get to the top because those with power above us push us back down again and again through inequitable application of rules, processes, and permit standards.Â Regardless of how hard we try, no matter our level of determination — we cannot finish the climb because those in controlÂ keep us down in the bucket, ever struggling.Â Eventually, even the best give up and their ideas, voices, and perspectives are lost.
What we have witnessed as the IRS and other scandals unfold is theÂ not-so-subtle beginning of the bucket phenomenon, something generally limited to third-world countries and episodes of “The Big Valley.” Those in power use the tools, processes, fees, and power of government to keep those who have ideas and are working hard to implement them at the bottom of the bucket.Â You cannot accomplish what you have set out to do because the government stops you.Â And the government is selective in choosing those who will make the climb.Â Those whoÂ support the powers-that-be, those who donate to the powers-that-be, and even those who lend vacation homes to the powers-that-be will climb the bucket easily.Â Those who oppose the powers-that-be, those who question the powers-that-be, and those with ideas that might topple the powers-that-be will find obstacles, delays, and mocking in their climbs to the bucket rim.
Regardless of where one stands politically, the bucket climb has to be clean.Â Whether by order or bureaucratic tendency, inequitable application of the rules for the climb destines the country to banana republic economic status because the perception of “I can’t get a fair shake” is a deterrent to economic development and, eventually, freedom.