Much can, has, and will be said about the irony of Idaho Tea Party leader landing a government job, even if that job is to cut spending. However, my focus is on another part of the story:
“If you don’t have a free-market perspective, you’d be uncomfortable,” said Stout, whose title is paralegal assistant, though she’s not a trained paralegal.
My problem with this, of course, is the same as it has been with similar situations in the past. One would think that the first question that would come to mind, especially for someone professing to be concerned about the cost of government, is “Why are we paying someone with no paralegal training to be a paralegal – or a paralegal assistant what ever that is?” If the job actually requires performing the function of a paralegal, aren’t the taxpayers entitled to a person who has training in fulfilling those functions? If the job does not actually require performing the function of a paralegal, aren’t the taxpayers entitled to “transparency,” i.e., a job title and description that actually describes what the job requires? After all, this is as “$25,000, 19-hour-a-week post.” How many actual paralegals get that kind of compensation for those kinds of hours?
The real problem here, of course, is that it remains the case that just about anybody can call themselves a paralegal because there is no generally accepted set of qualifications for the title. There also has and will be much discussion about the advantages and disadvantages of licensing and other forms of paralegal regulation. “Free market” advocates may oppose the idea of government regulation in all of its forms including licensing attorneys, doctors, etc., but at least an established definition of “paralegal” and a standard set of qualifications for using the title would allow people who are paying $25,000 a year for 19 hours of work a week to know whether the person getting the job was actually qualified to do it.