Bureaucracy / Mismanagement
The problem with the federal government is not just its vast size, but its increasing scope. It has expanded into many areas that should be left to state and local governments, businesses, charities, and individuals. The federal expansion is sucking the life out of the private sector and creating a top-down bureaucratic society.
Washington, DC opened its long-delayed streetcar for business on Saturday. Actually, it’s a stretch to say it is open “for business,” as the city hasn’t figured out how to collect fares for it, so they won’t be charging any.
President Obama’s new budget includes a table showing the number of executive branch civilian employees the administration expects to have in 2017. With that, we can compare the growth in federal government employment over eight years of Obama (2009 to 2017) to eight years of President George W. Bush (2001 to 2009).
Many articles in recent years have expressed concern about Pentagon bloat. Mackenzie Eaglen called for streamlining the Pentagon’s “army of bureaucrats.” Ray Mabus said“Twenty percent of the Pentagon budget, one dollar out of five, is spent on … the Office of the Secretary of Defense and the defense agencies … Pure overhead.”
The U.S. Postal Service (USPS) is losing billions of dollars a year. The government company that delivers “snail mail” is losing out to email and other types of electronic communication. First-class mail volume fell from a peak of 104 billion pieces in 2000 to just 64 billion pieces by 2014.
Quite a number of media fact-checkers tripped over Ted Cruz’s claim in last night’s debate that Barack Obama had “dramatically degraded our military,” and Marco Rubio’s related pledge to rebuild a U.S. military that is “being diminished.”
With the rise of electronic communications, the volume of snail mail has fallen precipitously, and the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) has been losing billions of dollars. The 600,000-worker USPS is an unjustified legal monopoly that is heavily subsidized. It is a bureaucratic dinosaur that Congress should put on the way to extinction.
Congratulations to Senator James Lankford of Oklahoma for his new report “Federal Fumbles.” The senator and his staff identify 100 screw-ups in federal programs and agencies, and propose some modest fixes.
My blog on a federal computer project that went six times overbudget prompted an expert on information technology (IT) to send me an interesting email. In this study on government failure and this study on cost overruns, I discussed some of the reasons why $100 million projects end up costing $200 million.
Politics and bureaucratic mismanagement drive up costs and generate failure in the federal government. More evidence comes from a Washington Post report today on a botched computer project at the Department of Homeland Security
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