Saturday, February 07, 2009

Gummit Works?

Credit where credit's due: Indiana's BMV continues to surprise me; not only have they sped up processing at the License Branch locations, they offer many services online. I had procrastinated long enough that renewing my plates by mail wasn't an option and I assumed online renewal was likewise out.

Not so -- for a small additional fee, they'll expedite the process and get new plates to you, the hapless taxpayer, within three business days.

If (and it's a very big if) we're gonna have to shell out to get ID tags stuck on our own vehicles, at least the process is otherwise painless. The BMV didn't wish themselves into existence and they're not competing for customers against the Brand X BMV down the street -- so props to 'em for not makin' dealing with them any worse than it has to be. They were not always so user-friendly; the BMV of my teen years was like takin' a trip to the gulag, except not as nice and there weren't any meals, which was a pity since it usually took long enough you'd've wanted to bring lunch.

...Hard-core anarchowhatever types will snarl at me over this but there are better ways to cope than to kick and scream over every little thing -- and far better places to direct one's energy than against low-level bureaucrats who are doin' their level best.

When I was very young indeed and working part-time as studio help for a small cable TV company, we had a fellow from the Social Security Adminsitration, as stereotypical an accounting-type as could be, who did an hour program, live, one evening every week in which he would explain in great detail how to get through this or that arcane procedure at Social Security -- what forms you'd need, what documentation to bring, and so on. It was dry as dust and looked like it was a lot of work; I asked him one day if he got paid extra for it and he looked surprised. "No," he said, "I just wanted to try to make it easier for people to figure this stuff out."

Social Security is a crummy Ponzi scheme, a socialist institution of which I have a very low opinion -- but that guy is nevertheless one of my heroes. Given a preposterous job in which the ill-prepared run headlong into the inflexible, he neither quit nor became a cynic; he rolled up his sleeves and went to work. He was just a little nebbishy guy at a little office in a little town -- and he didn't let that stop him. I've got a lot more respect for a fellow who steps up than for the folks who sit back and sneer, even when I'm not impressed with his particular cause.

The future belongs to those who show up. See that you do.


Anonymous said...

Just confirms my own feelings on what government should mainly be...a service organization for the people.

Hmm...what flavor of politics might this be?

Anonymous said...

Kind like the old formula for
success in Newspaper photography:

f8 and Be There.

Anon, Don

Assrot said...

Yeah, I tend to agree with you in principal. While I have little faith in government and government programs, I have much lees faith in the whiners and naysayers that automatically berate everything the government and government employees do just because they think it's cool.

I think the whiners and naysayers want to be part of the "in" crowd that sits on their fat behinds and do nothing but rant to up their blog traffic and their cool factor with their fellow kind.

Please allow me to go a little off topic here and say that I'm proud to announce the birth of my 6th grandchild. Check out my blog for pictures.

I'm also sad to say I lost one of my best four-legged friends. If you have a moment, please talk to what ever higher power you believe in and ask them to treat his soul kindly.


Anonymous said...

The Indiana BMV began to improve by leaps and bounds once they de-politicized it and actually made it a state service, instead of the puppy of whatever party ran things at the time. Really, profits went to the party in power.

Now there's usually a concierge who does triad on your issue, and checks that you have all you need to proceed before letting you sit there if you're missing an important piece of paper. And you can pay at the desk that serves you instead of waiting in a second line for the register.

I still go to the office instead of using the mail or internet because I dealt with the old bad BMV for so many years that I like the good treatment now, and don't want to give it up. But I get stuff done early, and not on the last day. YMMV, last dayers.

Anonymous said...

The issue at play here, I think, is that the DMV has a direct public interface, all of the time. They understand that getting something done is all they're about, and are now better at making sure it happens, because they are under constant scrutiny.
When people must interact with .gov, and it's a bad interaction, they tend to be quite cynical about it. Pitiably, people don't interact more with other portions of the government, because there might be incentive to clean those other departments up too.

Tam said...

But I like whining and naysaying!

Assrot said...

You are The Rockstar of whining and naysaying and I will always love you for it.

Keep up the good work girl.