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This recent CNN story talked about 86% of respondents said government was broken...  that can't be surprising - the words government and bureaucracy have become synonymous with slow in our culture - BUT, what I found promising is that 81% thought it could be fixed.  I thought that number would be much lower.

Take this all with the gigantic grain of salt you have to take all CNN and USAToday polls - but I thought I would link to the story here and ask the following questions for discussion:

If 81% of the people think it can be fixed - of the 3 P's - who will have the biggest impact on  fixing it? - Politicians, Policy Makers, or Public Servants (the life long people who run the offices in the executive branch)   They all play a role, but who has the most potential to make a difference?

If you are a 5% who thinks we are beyond repair...  What next?  Hobble along as far as we can muster, or wait for a catastrophic collapse to begin again? 

Tags: CNN, broken government, bureaucracy, government

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Yes at all levels, Federal, State, Local.
Federally, there's this Virginia/Maryland/DC, Mid-Atlantic "Old-Guard" regional poltical culture of laziness, poor work ethics, and elitism permeating to other US areas and public sector levels away from the eastern seaboard. This may be a reason why states tied to Capitol Hill's east-coast, "Rip Van Winkle-style", "Washington is the Center of the Universe" budgetary allocations and inactions--places far from DC, wishing to be national, progressive, "get it done now leaders" (i.e. California, Texas, etc.)---those who want to break free from the scandalous "left behind," geographically- shortsighted eastern US purse strings handlers--they just can't get things done for their citizenry.
The western states want certain processes and justices done NOW, not in 50-100 years, as many with the puppet strings east of the Mississpppi would rather see happen to most Americans. That's why both hard-working Repubs and Demos away from Washington often hate and resent Capitol Hill's puppetry moves that seems year-after-year, to unethically favor lazier, "get nothing done, more culturally backwards" eastern states closest to DC/Maryland/Virginia.
Now we're getting somewhere... I was just having dinner tonight with a good friend and we were discussing General Powell's recent rant on someone having to be willing to compromise before the whole system comes to a grinding halt (paraphrasing). I think his was a more heart felt and frustrated voice than the lip service usually given these sentiments. BUT, underlying it all is the idea that government work is a party issue - Once you get past a cabinet, or a council, or a board - political affiliations mean so little to the people answering child abuse hotlines or working to fill potholes. Ironically - the closer to the voter, the less the politics play... Yet at high levels we seem to think it will get food stamps delivered quicker if we make a deal to extend benefits if you'll also throw in building a road and paying for a study on the mating patterns of the Three-Spined Stickleback fish in my district.

I totally agree that the beltway is more old guard than many other areas, and also the most highly covered by the publications that monitor our work... Another reason I think if it is going to be - it's up to the life-long public servants to make it happen!
It is clear that the first "P" cannot do anything. Here is a quote from Byron Dorgan about eliminating the (National Endowment for Democracy) NED:

Sen. Byron L. Dorgan, North Dakota Democrat, lamented after the National Endowment for Democracy was founded: "If we cannot cut this, Lord, we cannot cut anything."

The National Endowment for Democracy was founded by Reagan to promote democracy in the Soviet Union. This year they were given $168 million which amounts to 0.00000001% of the budget. Clearly democracy has won and there is no need for the NED. Yet the NED exists and flourishes.

Congress can't eliminate this little agency then what chance does the other 2 "P's" have of succeeding to get rid of this agency?
Alas, a small percent of that 19 percent seem to think the answer is attacking the IRS with planes and anthrax.
Sad, but true...
All three have to work together for a lasting fix. Support and buy-in from all three levels increases the likelihood that any initiative or policy will be successful. Politicians can identify the bigger picture and help garner support to improve the chances that an initative will be funded; policy makers provide the regulatory structure and criteria to support and measure the success of the initiative; and public servants are the ones that make it happen.

Of course, I'm a big fan of the public servants!!! But we can't do it alone. No funding, no emphasis, no support, and no criteria equals a failed inititiative, no matter how hard the public servants work--resulting in a lot of frustrated public servants.
The problem is everyone’s sense of entitlement. For example, many complain about airport screenings and waiting at but all want to travel safety. How do change the perception that Feds don’t contribute? Be Feds of character and competence. Read Steven M Covey’s “The Speed of Trust” to learn how to do so. Words won’t do it, only action will change this perception.
US Federal has built one of the most robust governance structure that exists no where in the world. Unfortunately it has been gamed and obfuscation rampantly promoted. When genuine "will" in people arise to make the system work then it will work, no matter how arduous the challenge.
I am sure there are many Americans who strictly adhere to the Constitution that feel the government is working exactly the way it should, with checks and balances. What most of us see though is absolute, dead in the water road block. If it was up to me, I would have a Balanced Budget amendment to the Constitution, a Term Limit amendment and a shorter Congressional term. In Colorado our Legislature is in the session for 120 days, period. The governor can call a Special Session if needed for an emergency, but otherwise the legislators are out there, working in the real world, just like the rest of us. If I could wave a magic wand, I would have all current politicians not re-elected and all the lobbyists would just disappear.
More than ever a magic wand is needed. In lieu of that term limits and a balanced budget amendment would probably be the best approach.

However just try telling that to a politician and you get a blank stare. The only politician I remember that had a sensible thing to say was Malcolm Forbes. He wanted a flat tax and look at how far he has gotten.
I think it can be fixed, it's all just a matter of time, but it's goint to take all the right people to do it, and not just "The Three Ps," well, maybe Politicians and Policy Makers who know what the hell they're doing, and Public Servants - definitely, based upon the many, many years of experience that they have in dealing with economics and other government issues, especially healthcare. But, what the Politicians and Policy Makers need to do is wise the hell up and listen to the more experienced executives, who have been in office for a long, long time and stop thinking that they know everything because they don't. There's entirely too much arrogance and pride being displayed, especially with the Democrats. In the past, Democrats and Republicans used to share ideas, opinions etc. with each other. Now it seems that, like Sandy Ressler said in an earlier GovLoop blog, that this country has become more and more polarized, in other words, right wingers have become far-right-wingers and left winger become far-left-wingers, thus making us all in what Sandy describes as being "Wingnuts." But, all I have to say is that the government had better damn sight do something quickly before another catastrophic collapse occurs.


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