Keller @ Large: The Downside Of Improved Efficiency

BOSTON (CBS) – Thursday we talked about how the Registry of Motor Vehicles here in Massachusetts has been managing to get its job done with less funding and fewer employees in recent years, and wondered why our political leaders here and in Washington can’t summon similar resolve and creativity.

Listen to Jon’s commentary:

I invited those of you who disagree with the Registry’s claims to let me know about it, and no one did.

But several people did write me to point out the downside of improved efficiency, and their comments bear repeating.

Pete from the Cape noted that one of the branch offices closed was in Eastham, saving the salaries of the two people who worked there on the one day a week it was open, but little else.

Pete notes the closure created a financial burden for people from the outer Cape who now must drive much further to do their Registry business.

And a lady named Sheryl wrote to express concern about the jobs lost to computerization:

“Automation and technology have eliminated many of our jobs: clerks in supermarkets and parking garages, toll collectors, travel agents…. I have no problems with advancing technology….[but] everyone cannot be a doctor, lawyer or airline pilot. There have to be jobs that a person with average skills can do.”

Pete and Sheryl are pointing out that as much as we’d like to see more done with less, there are consequences to cuts that have to be thought through and balanced against the benefits.

There are no excuses for government not trying to save. But let’s not pretend that cutting without thinking is any better.

You can listen to Keller At Large on WBZ News Radio every weekday at 7:55 a.m. You can also watch Jon on WBZ-TV News.

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