By the time I stopped working for Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK), I had concluded that the pursuance of so-called “government efficiency” was largely a misguided waste of time for a politician who was interested in achieving smaller government. (I’ve been pleased to see my old boss spend more time trying to cut and eliminate programs since my departure.)
By the time I stopped working for Gov. Mitch Daniels, I had concluded that most politicians probably just pursue “government efficiency” for cheap p.r. purposes: take care of the special interests first, buy votes, and tell the suckers taxpayers that you care deeply about how their money is being spent. And as I’ve discussed in the past, to the degree that the governor’s office was really interested in saving money, it was because they wanted to free up funds to spend on Mitch’s “priorities.”
Put President Obama in the Daniels category. From the New York Times:
Cutting wasteful government spending is one of those exercises that even the most ardent political opponents agree is a good thing. But what one does with those savings is quite another matter.
On Wednesday, President Obama signed an executive order cutting federal spending on things like promotional plaques and mugs, cellphones and iPads, official travel, and chauffeured cars for senior officials.
‘It doesn’t replace the importance of the work that Congress needs to do in coming up with a balanced, bold plan to reduce our deficit,’ Mr. Obama said in a ceremony in the Oval Office, ‘but it indicates once again that there are things we can do right now that will actually deliver better government more efficiently.’
In fact, the administration said, only a small portion of the $4 billion in annual savings will go toward reducing the deficit. Rather, the money will be spent on other programs, like helping veterans re-enter the work force or improving the nation’s infrastructure, which the White House contends are more worthwhile.
As Forrest Gump might have put it, “Republicans and Democrats goes together like peas and carrots.”