June 15, 2012 at 3:52 pm #163959
With every major political election, there’s always talk of eliminating this or that federal agency because its ineffective, unnecessary, redundant, expensive or some combo thereof. In theory, I agree with this, but I simply can’t say with any confidence which federal agency should be targeted. Simplifying the tax code seems as if it could lead to significantly reducing the operational expenditures of the IRS, for example, but certainly not outright elimination. Help me understand…
Which federal agencies (or even functions) do you really think we could live without?
June 15, 2012 at 4:01 pm #163981
It isn’t ever going to happen but…
Why are there 3 different agencies granting access to war equipment by foreign governments?
Why are there at least 4 different agencies doing background investigations?
You mention tax code, why are there at least 2 other agencies (other than IRS) who pass judgement on tax related issues?
Why are there several agencies directly involved in disaster management?
Probably could go on for quite awhile longer! The answer to these questions is because NO one wants to give up any power (and I am including politicians)
June 15, 2012 at 4:11 pm #163979
You’re absolutely right. I forgot about the background investigations. It’s absolutely absurd that that isn’t consolidated.
June 15, 2012 at 7:18 pm #163977
Perhaps it’s less about eliminating unecessary agencies, and more about eliminating or reducing unecessary work (including duplication of work). I’d even suggest that this be considered across federal, state, and local jurisdictions. If we can find ways to coax stakeholders into letting go of he need to own certain work, we can free capacity for more critical needs. I see a lot of wasted duplication of effort in permitting and compliance efforts across jurisdictions, which could otherwise redirected to education and development of better technologies and business practices.
June 15, 2012 at 8:35 pm #163975
Mark, you’re spot-on. I’ve seen a lot of duplicate work at a tactical level. Eliminate that duplication and you’d have yourself some operational effectiveness and efficiencies.
June 15, 2012 at 8:44 pm #163973
My sense is that smaller independent “arms-length” agencies get added over time, in response to issues of the day (“accountability” being one of them). Much like the proverbial frog in the pot of (eventually) boiling water, we tend to accept the rationale for having each of these little agencies, and think of them as sensible in isolation. Eventually, they start to add up, and you realize there is either a certain redundancy, or sometimes gaps between mandates that stuff falls through, and maybe collapsing or integrating some together, or folding one or more smaller ones into an existing larger one might be a smarter idea and save a few bucks. Though personally, I start from the perspective of “Could they do what citizens need them to do more effectively if they weren’t separate?”, rather than “Could we save money by mashing up this and that?”. Mandate first, money second.
June 16, 2012 at 7:04 pm #163971
Great insight into how the sprawl occurs in the first place. I’ve seen a few examples of this.
June 16, 2012 at 8:03 pm #163969
David B. GrinbergParticipant
Chris, while this may be the contrarian view based upon your question, my answer is ZERO. Federal agencies and functions have already been slashed to the bone. The Fed workforce is at its lowest level in years. Plus, reportedly, only one Federal job is currently being replaced for every three jobs lost across-the-board. Thus, I resoundingly say: Give Feds A Break! Remember that every Fed job or function that’s cut has a negative impact on our fragile economy. Costs trickle down from agencies to contractors to families, while unemployment may increase depending on private sector job figures. During the worst of the “Great Recession” it was Federal employment that helped prevent further hemorrhaging in the unemployment rate. The U.S. economy may once again be teetering on the brink soon enough due to the Eurozone crisis. We don’t need further cuts to the Federal workforce or its critical functions. This will only make a bad economy worse. At least that’s my take.
June 19, 2012 at 3:05 pm #163967
June 19, 2012 at 3:55 pm #163965
Agreed. Duplication of work also confuses the people who need to work with us, and wastes their time and ours.
June 19, 2012 at 7:07 pm #163963
That’s crazy – only one replaced for every three lost.
June 19, 2012 at 7:07 pm #163961
Thanks for link.
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