WSJ and The Economist on Licensing

There is a good article in WSJ and another one in The Economist on how the number of professions that require the practitioner to be licensed is on the rise. Another example of bureaucracy. No, I believe that there are many fields where the government should deploy the framework of licensing to ensure minimal level of competence among the practitioners (I myself am a licensed Real Estate Professional) , however, I am opposed to this device becoming a tool for monopolistic behavior by interest groups and “professional organizations”.

CT DMV – proof of residency

Had to deal with CT DMV recently and getting a new license (for new residents) caused a major pain in the rear axle.

Location: Bridgeport DMV
Time: May 2011
Mission: To obtain a new drivers license for a driver with existing drivers license.

Just like any busy intelligent person would, you decide to find out the requirements for obtaining a CT drivers license before going to DMV. Given that you live in a 21st century, and do not not have enough time to be entertained by waiting line music for 20 minutes, you looked up information online. According to CT DMV’s website there are multiple requirements for obtaining the license, one of which is proof of residency.

According to the list provided, one of the allowed forms of proof is a utility bill or bank statement with CT address. The site specifically emphasizes(quite literally, in bold letters) that these forms of proof need not be postmarked. The one form of proof that does require a postmarked envelope is an ordinary letter or postcard. So far, makes sense, doesn’t it? Clearly, if you are required to obtain a license within 30 days of moving into the state (and you are), it makes sense that waiting for a postmarked bill may aide you to run out of time. On the other hand, a postcard (i hope you still remember what that is) that you can mail to your new address would be a good proof that you do indeed live at the new address.

This, however, is not the logic that is applied by the staff of Bridgeport DMV, who require bills be postmarked. And should you yield and surrender your turn at the altar of sacrifice, you may try to call the DMV customer service and fully enjoy their waiting line music for at least 20 minutes, at which point the operator will confirm that the bills are indeed accepted without postmarks. At this point, of course, you again need to stand in line in for an honor of reaching the demi-god in the window. At this point the demi-god in the window will repeat the earlier statement about applicability of postmark. To your attempt to argue, the reaction will be appropriate to… well, questioning the orders of a demi-god. After the manager is called, he too will continue to argue the point and when told about your inquiry via customer service will proceed to ask who you talked to.

Eventually, the gods may be convinced though, that the rules the pantheon had produced and published do apply, and you will be allowed to make the necessary financial and documentary sacrifice to obtain the desired piece of plastic with your (generally not very happy) likeness on it.

Thoughts Of The Day: CT DMV needs to address the education of their staff and efficiency of their operation. In my experience, CT DMV is always crowded with long lines of people who sometimes have to take a day off just to go to the DMV (only one “extended hours” (until 6:30) day – Thursday is on schedule, no Sunday and no Monday). If DMV were not a monopoly, it would go out of business in months! I am glad i have a AAA membership – I can go to their center and renew my license when the time comes. Unfortunately, I cannot do the same with various registrations etc and every time I get to deal with them, it’s like good old times in Russia, where it appears that the sole purpose of the government agencies is to make the life of citizens difficult.