February 28, 2012 at 1:52 pm #154408
Today the GAO will present testimony to congress that virtually all federal agencies may have multiple overlapping programs. “From food safety to economic development, federal programs are filled with areas of potential duplication, fragmentation and overlap, according to the Government Accountability Office.”
In addition to overlapping programs, we see government at all levels trying to solve every problem facing humanity, including many that do not actually exist. Government employees and public budgets are stretched thiner and thiner in an ever expanding effort to “Do more with less”. And the results are not good. Whatever one may think of the various critics, it is hard to deny their contention that government at all levels has become more expensive, more authoritarian, less responsive, much less transparent and often fails to produce quality results.
The quality, education, dedication and work effort of public servants has never been higher. They work long hours with limited resources for moderate compensation attempting to fill ever more unrealistic expectations, and usually failing to do so.
So is it time for government at all levels to start scaling back? Should we be scaling back the number of programs we operate, services we provide and promises we make? If we concentrate our existing resources on a more limited range of truly core critical government services, can we produce better outcomes by doing less with more?
As a budget analyst, I have learned that when allocating scarce resources to achieve organizational goals, sometimes the best course of action is to fully fund, even over fund, critical projects; but zero out the ones that are simply not necessary. If one person says they can operate 20 projects for $1 million and another person says they can operate 1 project for the same amount, fund the one and cancel the 20. In the end you will have better outcomes.
February 29, 2012 at 9:38 pm #154420
I agree the US government needs to scale back, get rid of useless earmarks, and cut back in social programs, international aid and war budget.
Invest in house, infrastructure and education, and stop being the police of the world, and the champion in charity programs.
February 29, 2012 at 10:35 pm #154418
We have already had to scale back services. IRS has been under a hiring freeze for 2 fiscal years now, with a very large proportion of the workforce eligible to retire. Congress cuts our budget while adding new responsibilities. We’re already doing as much as humanly possible. I’d welcome specific suggestions from those who think ” doing more with less” is easy. Oh yeah ? Show me.
February 29, 2012 at 10:52 pm #154416
We are also scaled back. In our organization we are short 3 employees, but due to hiring freeze, we can’t hire. In order to serve our customers some of us are working overtime to “catch up”. The retirement tsumani at our sister organization is losing employees to the tune of 1-2 per month. If the heat goes out in your building….just wait, they will send someone as soon as he/she gets back from a leaking sink in the mens room. We support the same command, perform the same function with less and less employees. Our organization will lose 3 more within next year, with no hiring to take their place. The tsumani started quickly when the pay was frozen, when “changes” of high 3 to high 5 were coming,……people that “can” retire are leaving. And of course, the back log of processing these retirements is growing steadily. If we survive the next two BRACS, I’ll have 9 yrs to go. If a BRAC happens, I have decided to do what Rhett Butler did at the end of Gone with the Wind. Go to Charleston….go home.
March 1, 2012 at 1:07 pm #154414
Which is why I said do LESS with more. We have gone from an environment where 20 people worked on 20 sepeparate tasks to one in which 10 people are working on 30 tasks. It simply doesn’t work. We need to conctrate on core critical government services so 8 people can team up on 4 tasks. In the case of the IRS, we could stop trying to run 1/2 the government’s social welfare programs through the tax code. Ditto for economic development. Develop a simple, easy to administer tax system which maximizes revanue collection while making compliance easier. Any new responsibility Congress has added that does not directly relate to collecting revenue should be discarded. Obviously, this will require Congress to reverse previous decisions to expand the socpe of government activity but recent trends indicate it is possible..
March 1, 2012 at 10:29 pm #154412
None of those proposals are within the Service’s ability. We cannot just “discard” legally required responsibilities, or ignore laws we may not like or agree with. Congress makes the tax laws-IRS does not, but must enforce all tax laws with fairness and impartiality. Please identify where, in the current budget, are sufficient funds to ” develop a ‘simple, easy to administer tax system’. I’m sure the Commissioner would be delighted to know. Leaving aside the whole matter of getting authorization from Congress to do so, of course. It’s just not that simple or easy.
June 28, 2012 at 2:02 pm #154410
I like the idea of cutting back – as long as it’s done wisely. Program costs aren’t the only factor. There are more variables to look at than just price points. In a capitalistic society, there is real truth to the adage “You get what you pay for.” If we create a “race to the bottom,” so to speak, and product and service providers simply start undercutting each other because the Government won’t pay top dollar for quality products and services, then those products and services will re-route to the private sector. We should be making cuts with a focus on what our country NEEDS and DOESN’T NEED. Just ask “what if we cut this?” and then assess what the consequences could be and the probability that they would occur.
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