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Vivek Kundra On US Government Inefficiency

kdawson posted more than 4 years ago | from the manila-folders dept.

Patents 306

parkland writes "Federal CIO Vivek Kundra described some dismaying government inefficiencies in a speech on Thursday at the University of Washington's Evans School of Public Affairs in Seattle. It takes 160 days to process benefits for veterans, he said, 'because the Veteran's Administration is processing paperwork by passing manila folders from one desk to another.' Another example bound to make you grind your teeth is why it takes the Patent and Trademark Office 3 years to process a patent. 'One reason,' says Kundra, 'is because the USPTO receives these applications online, prints them out, and then someone manually rekeys the information into an antiquated system.'"

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Possibly another reason (5, Insightful)

XxtraLarGe (551297) | more than 4 years ago | (#31372838)

Is because there's no consequence for them doing a bad job, so they can take their own sweet time. You have to screw up pretty badly to get fired by the Federal government.

Re:Possibly another reason (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31372942)

DING! DING! DING! DING! You, Sir, are the winner. These inefficiencies are clung to for dear life in order to keep things moving slowly (for laziness sake). I've seen it at EVERY gov facility that I've worked at (which is a great many). And it's only getting worse.

Re:Possibly another reason (4, Insightful)

dunezone (899268) | more than 4 years ago | (#31373248)

These inefficiencies are clung to for dear life in order to keep things moving slowly (for laziness sake)..

Yeah, I would say its because we have government agencies still running on the same core processes and infrastructure from 20-30 years ago. And during those 30 years more processes and infrastructure was infused into the original processes and infrasture thus making it more complex.

The only way to fix this is to overhaul the entire system which is very very costly and would take hundreds of thousands of hours to implement. You cant simply fix one part of the process either; because you are only as fast as the slowest process.

The government could be highly efficient but no one is willing to spend the time or money to make this happen. Heck, I font even remember the last time an actual government agency was either cut or had a major overhaul.

Bottom line it all comes down to money and which government official is willing to put his name on the same paper as the price tag.

Re:Possibly another reason (2, Insightful)

Z00L00K (682162) | more than 4 years ago | (#31373316)

Being effective is not a requirement - and if you are too effective then you may lose your job.

The patent office situation with antique systems - if it's so old that you only can type it in then that system must be incompatible with any modern system so bad that nobody can expect the old system to survive much longer due to lack of spare parts - unless it's a completely mechanical system using punch cards in which case you just need to find a decent blacksmith.

Re:Possibly another reason (3, Insightful)

Wiarumas (919682) | more than 4 years ago | (#31373380)

Burning Platform. No government agency, unless highly budgeted, will submit to change, unless the platform is literally burning beneath them. For some agencies, this means change will never come. This is a HUGE problem in the US. Its not just that our organizations are inefficient, its that they are unable to adapt as well.

Re:Possibly another reason (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31373576)

I'm sure you could find a democrat or too willing to spend the money.

Re:Possibly another reason (2, Insightful)

Pojut (1027544) | more than 4 years ago | (#31372994)

I never understood this. You would think the entity in charge of keeping things running would want them done quickly and accurate...the amount of trashy, incompetent work and workers that the US Government voluntarily puts up with has always been a confusing subject. There are plenty of skilled people out there who likely would work for the government, if it wasn't so damn inefficient.

Hell, I would...

Re:Possibly another reason (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31373060)

Because the Federal Government is heavily Unionized, and that carries with it all of the negative consequences that we can see on display in American Manufacturing. Couple that up with an entity that can and routinely does absolve itself of any and all liability when it screws up.

Viola! Anyone who is hired can never be fired, and the US government grows to be larger than the entire US manufacturing sector.

Re:Possibly another reason (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31373148)

It's rather straightforward actually, companies are kept efficient due to the profit/loss mechanism, if a company is horrible inefficient it loses money and this inefficiency is clearly visible through accounting.

Government has no profit/loss mechanism since it's earnings are derived by taxation, and when something is inefficient it is said that more funding is required to alleviate the problem. Outside of government if something is horribly inefficient it usually goes bankrupt (at least in the past this was the case).

Re:Possibly another reason (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31373270)

You must not work in a company. Companies do the least they can do to get by, just like a lot of other places private or public. The fact that the government is forced to be transparent, to some degree, is at least a step in the right direction.

Re:Possibly another reason (4, Insightful)

Korin43 (881732) | more than 4 years ago | (#31373166)

Just think about how it works. In a normal company, if you're inefficient, you make less money. The government never makes money, but if it loses more money, it can just raise taxes and hire more people (added benefit: "I created jobs").

Failed Logic (3, Informative)

mpapet (761907) | more than 4 years ago | (#31373274)

In a normal company, if you're inefficient, you make less money.

You could not be more wrong. In most large companies, what passes for efficiency is neither faster nor cheaper. Success is based mostly on being the loudest with the deepest pockets.

In small companies, it is merely the persuasive abilities of the customer facing people and the rare pragmatic customer.

Seriously, it it time for this doublethink to die.

The government never makes money
Yes, they do. Fees? Penalties? Taxes? It's time for the "Government is the root of all inefficiency" to die.

Re:Possibly another reason (1)

Marxist Hacker 42 (638312) | more than 4 years ago | (#31373282)

I wouldn't. Not again, anyway. Even State Government was too strange for me- policies limiting the ability of workers to get the information they needed, combined with an attitude that if you did your job well enough to actually have the time to do your job well, then you must not be the type of employee they wanted.

Re:Possibly another reason (2, Informative)

diskofish (1037768) | more than 4 years ago | (#31373420)

Apparently you've never heard the phrase "good enough for government work".

Re:Possibly another reason (3, Informative)

fm6 (162816) | more than 4 years ago | (#31373454)

You would think the entity in charge of keeping things running would want them done quickly and accurate.

Large organizations don't have collective will. They consist of huge numbers of people, each with their own agenda. And it doesn't help when the organization reports to elected officials who need to bring home the pork in order to stay in office.

Bad as the current federal bureaucracy is, it actually used to be much worse. Before civil service rules (the same ones that make it so hard to fire people), government jobs were filled by "patronage" meaning that the politicos used them to reward their supporters. Up until the 60s, the chairman of the party that held the White House was always the Postmaster General, the Post Office being the single biggest source of patronage in the U.S. government. The PO was finally so badly run that they reconstituted it as the semi-autonomous Postal Service.

Re:Possibly another reason (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31372998)

Is because there's no consequence for them doing a bad job, so they can take their own sweet time. You have to screw up pretty badly to get fired by the Federal government.

Sadly, the same is pretty true in corporate America. Heck, my father used to get excel files on floppy disks mailed to him every month in manilla envelope, because no one could configure their corporate e-mail system to allow larger file sizes and most managers didn't know how to attach files (this was in 2002).

Re:Possibly another reason (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31373204)

I work in a similar environment at the moment, except, I'm a co-op student and am not sure that I can ask other people to do extra work to "do things right". Why? Because we're already working overtime just to get things done.

Though changing processes might make things more efficient in the future (and we have had large projects that are made to do just this, going on even now...) we can't seem to afford the time to fix *everything* at once. The result? We're waaaaay behind.

Is there some kind of solution to this problem that anyone has found? How can I navigate around the bureaucracy and make things better? I work for an organisation that holds about 40,000 employees with a large mash-up of aquired businesses.

My work involves working with Intranet applications (still on IE6 ;)), and currently our processes are very inconsistent. Because of this, I've decided to write better documentation and introduce policies for future co-op students to improve consistency and give them more time to focus on improving processes. Am I going about this the right way?

Re:Possibly another reason (3, Insightful)

eln (21727) | more than 4 years ago | (#31373474)

Basically, you do what you can to make your own job more efficient. With any luck, if you advertise that well enough to your superiors, you'll move up in the ranks and be able to apply efficiencies to more and larger processes. Eventually, if you stick to it long enough and get the right breaks, you'll be able to transform the whole company into a much more efficient operation.

Of course, all of this will take 30 years, by which time all of the stuff you did in your early years will be hopelessly antiquated, and all of the lower-level employees will be constantly complaining about how inefficient everything is. Then, some other enterprising individual deep in the lower levels will start doing whatever he can to make his own job more efficient. With any luck, if he advertises that well enough to his superiors, he'll move up in the ranks, and so on.

Change in large organizations is hard and it takes a long time. Right now a lot of larger organizations are using processes that would have seemed mind-blowingly efficient in the 1980s, or even 1990s, but seem hopelessly out of date today. Companies (and governments) do update process, and do get more efficient, but it takes a long time and a whole lot of effort.

Re:Possibly another reason (4, Insightful)

garcia (6573) | more than 4 years ago | (#31373062)

Is because there's no consequence for them doing a bad job, so they can take their own sweet time. You have to screw up pretty badly to get fired by the Federal government.

More than likely there are several reasons for this (not necessarily all at the same time--but perhaps):

1. They want to continue to increase staffing in their department. By proving that they are "swamped" with work they have more ability to do so. This increases the budget and thus the clout that the particular department has.

2. The process to upgrade the systems, and fill in all the historical information, would be too difficult on all levels (financial, training, and time) to do. It's easier to continue the antiquated processes.

3. The staff hired has been done so at a specific level of understanding. Upgrading the systems will create issues for these older unionized employees and thus they would need to be moved to another job, retrained and given a new job description and pay increase, or outright let go. Unions protect the employees against any kind of common sense options here and thus the status quo is preserved.

4. Some random political reason that we are not privy to.

5. The new system will not work nearly as well as the old because of various reasons including malice, incompetence, and bugs.

---

As a student of public administration, someone who lived through unionized state employment, and someone who tries to ensure the taxpayers are insulated from rising costs, I understand the desire for change to increase productivity and decrease time but the costs involved (human and otherwise) are much bigger than you'll ever care to think about.

Seriously, sometimes it's just better to live in the current world than bother screwing with something that "works".

Re:Possibly another reason (2, Insightful)

phantomfive (622387) | more than 4 years ago | (#31373304)

Unions protect the employees against any kind of common sense options here and thus the status quo is preserved.

This is a perfect example of why people dislike unions, and why they are so unpopular in the US.

Re:Possibly another reason (1)

garcia (6573) | more than 4 years ago | (#31373340)

This is a perfect example of why people dislike unions, and why they are so unpopular in the US.

It's just one of the reasons.

Better reason is that Govt Jobs are a job program (4, Insightful)

xzvf (924443) | more than 4 years ago | (#31373076)

Government jobs, Federal, State and Local are almost treated like a jobs program. Everyone has heard the noise when tax receipts (I refuse to call it revenue) fall short and people have to be let go. The stimulus plan was the Federal government borrowing money to save the jobs of State and Local employees. In my town alone Police, Fire, Teachers and Construction have been hired with two years of stimulus funds. When the money runs out in a year, do we get a new Federal stimulus? The Feds don't have to be efficient, because they have no competition, and if you put 25% of government workers out, unemployment goes up another 5%. There is no reason to do things better if it reduces the number of workers.

Re:Better reason is that Govt Jobs are a job progr (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31373542)

I am a government worker. Foreign Service. You my friend are spot on. But I'd extend your jobs program definition to the military as well.

I am a liberal. I was very excited by Obama's election. I'll vote for him again. But, I have to say that since I started working for the Governemt I've become disillusioned. I now believe we need 50%+ cuts in ALL federal agencies. 30% isn't enough. It wouldn't go noticed. We need MASSIVE reductions. I come from the software industry (granted it was Microsoft but still) innovation is rewarded in technology. In government it is to be avoided. We really need massive cuts, so that the good people (and there are many) are forced to think on their feet and come up with better solutions.

Re:Possibly another reason (5, Insightful)

phantomfive (622387) | more than 4 years ago | (#31373170)

One talking guy suggested that the reason government in the US is inefficient is because we expect it to be, and I think there is some truth to that. When was the last time you ever heard a politician say, "government is inefficient, and here is how we can make it more efficient!" It wouldn't be hard, there is so much low-hanging fruit on the tree of inefficiency. You could allow useless people to be fired, or change budgeting procedures so saving money is rewarded instead of punished.

But we don't have any politicians who think like that, instead we have Republicans who say, "government is too big, we need to either cut it or cut its budget" and Democrats who seem to try to pretend the issue doesn't exist, I don't know what they are doing.

In other countries, a government job is something you go to college for, and are trained for. It is something prestigious, and requires (often difficult) exams. I am not saying we should do this in the US, but I think we should be aware that there are alternatives, so we can choose which one we want.

Re:Possibly another reason (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31373350)

Republicans want smaller government? Please do tell where you were during the last Bush administrations.

Re:Possibly another reason (4, Interesting)

GodfatherofSoul (174979) | more than 4 years ago | (#31373176)

So, does that explain the rampant inefficiencies in Corporate America? The bigger *any* organization gets, the less efficient it becomes. There's a secretary sitting at a desk at Bank of America who knows how to cut her workload by 25%, but it'll never happen because her douchebag manager is out playing golf or banging the copy girl, etc. Such is life.

Re:Possibly another reason (1)

GiveBenADollar (1722738) | more than 4 years ago | (#31373212)

Also because the people that move the manila folders from desk to desk value their jobs too. When 5 jobs in an office could be eliminated by a software update in the private sector they eliminate the jobs. When the same thing happens in the public sector they either keep the old system or upgrade to a new system that creates 5 more jobs. My own experiences have show that when the government goes paperless you end up with twice the amount of paperwork because everyone still needs a hard copy. This is impossible to change with the current system because there are no rewards to managers who streamline their system, and there are draconian rules in place that prevent positive innovation.

Re:Possibly another reason (1)

conureman (748753) | more than 4 years ago | (#31373230)

There may not be any way to improve the system. My girlfriend works for Contra Costa County. The primary, proprietary {steaming pile} of software that she uses seven [oh, yes, they laid some people off, so some caseload has been redistributed, and you'll be taking some days off, so we won't have to pay you so awfully much; Oh no! You mustn't work at home, or any overtime, and... why no, you WILL need to have all of your work done by the end of each month] days a week randomly deletes completed work rather than saving the file. This has been reported and corroborated by the entire staff, but that fact and the home-brew, IT-policy-violating work-around to incrementally back up that everyone uses are verboten topics with the PHBs. No avenues exist to suggest improvement, and this sort of thing also wears down morale.

Inefficiencies. (5, Insightful)

saintlupus (227599) | more than 4 years ago | (#31372844)

I work in academia, which is in many ways culturally similar to working in government. I wonder how many of these inefficiencies persist in order to placate an aged workforce that refuses to embrace technology and learn to do anything in a new way.

I see a lot of people around here just sort of "running out the clock" - I can't imagine we're unique.

--saint

When people & processes can't be easily replac (4, Insightful)

Valdrax (32670) | more than 4 years ago | (#31373054)

I see a lot of people around here just sort of "running out the clock" - I can't imagine we're unique.

Pfft. That's everywhere -- government, academia, and the private sector. The bit about not updating your technology to placate a stagnant workforce is more prominent in the former two than the latter where people are replaceable commodities (aka "human resources"), but running out the clock happens anywhere that people don't take a lot of pride in their work and just want to collect a paycheck and go home.

But even the private sector has legacy hardware to placate rather than update and replace. Why do you think COBOL and PL/I programmers did so well in the late 90s? Sometimes the pain of updating a process just can't be justified in the short term, and the private sector is even more focused on the quarterly/yearly budget than government & academia.

I'll bet the USPTO has been wanting to replace that process for years if not decades. It's not like OCR and mapping translation software hasn't been around for forever. It's probably some combination of "costs to much," "too afraid to let things get backlogged in the transition," and "if it isn't broke (enough), don't fix it."

Re:Inefficiencies. (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31373072)

I think it's not so much an aging workforce as an incompetent workforce. Given it's pretty much impossible to be fired for incompetency from the government, there's not really any incentive not to be.

Re:Inefficiencies. (2, Insightful)

TheLink (130905) | more than 4 years ago | (#31373146)

The private sector isn't that efficient either. Sure there are examples of efficient companies. But I bet there are also efficient government departments.

Speaking of embracing technology and doing things in new ways, how many companies in the private sector have bosses who encourage meetings (especially internal ones) to be done using instant messaging/IRC?

This increases productivity since employees can be in more than one meeting at the same time, and they can still do other stuff. They could even go to the toilet or answer phones without interrupting the meeting - they can just scroll up when they get back, rather than everyone having the wait for you to get back up to speed.

Whereas physical meetings tend to be very inefficient. A typical meeting could occupy 2 hours of real time from each participant but of which say only 5 minutes are useful.

The rest is "idle time" - wasted. Multiply that by the number of participants and you are looking at a lot of wasted time.

Maybe the next generation would be more accepting of this. But you have to be able to read well and fast enough.

I'm not saying physical face to face meetings should go away completely - there will still be good reasons for them, but for so many meetings (especially more technical ones) they are unnecessary (given suitable IM software).

Re:Inefficiencies. (2, Insightful)

FooAtWFU (699187) | more than 4 years ago | (#31373414)

The Wall Street Journal had a "defense of capitalism" editorial the other day which said that half the usual conservative defense was bogus, and the reason capitalism and a private sector is so good is that it promotes economic diversity, while government regulations and socialism promote a monoculture approach. I think this is a place that is aware of the pitfalls of "monoculture" enough to appreciate that.

It's not just age (2, Insightful)

DesScorp (410532) | more than 4 years ago | (#31373186)

I work in academia, which is in many ways culturally similar to working in government. I wonder how many of these inefficiencies persist in order to placate an aged workforce that refuses to embrace technology and learn to do anything in a new way.

I see a lot of people around here just sort of "running out the clock" - I can't imagine we're unique.

--saint

It's not just the age of the workers... there are plenty of younger workers in the Federal Government. It's also a matter of jobs. Government unions are arguably the most powerful in the country, and thus are resistant to anything that would bring business-like efficiencies. Keep in mind that in the private sector, technological improvements allow you to do more with less. Why would Federal unions want that? Slowpoke paper operations keep more people on the payroll. If you brought modern information management and paperless office techniques to the government, you'd literally take away the only reason for the existence of hundreds of thousands of jobs.

Re:Inefficiencies. (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31373216)

I work in academia, which is in many ways culturally similar to working in government. I wonder how many of these inefficiencies persist in order to placate an aged workforce that refuses to embrace technology and learn to do anything in a new way.

I see a lot of people around here just sort of "running out the clock" - I can't imagine we're unique.

--saint

Government is heavily Unionized. This explains a hell of a lot of the problem.

A staple hero of modern Unions is John Henry - the man that killed himself to beat the steam hammer. The rational of his heroism being that it was better for the men to keep their jobs doing back-breaking work rather than let the steam hammer do it better and let them move on to something that would kill them less.

Unions celebrate inefficiency that maintains "jobs". They'd rather have 10 men do the work that one man with technology could. Because it grows their ranks. You hear the celebrated tales of union workers throwing their wrenches into the machines brought in to replace them.

China has 4 times as many people, and they invest in technology to make each of their workers 3 times as productive as an American. The West's days are numbered.

Re:Inefficiencies. (1)

coaxial (28297) | more than 4 years ago | (#31373362)

I work in academia, which is in many ways culturally similar to working in government. I wonder how many of these inefficiencies persist in order to placate an aged workforce that refuses to embrace technology and learn to do anything in a new way.

I see a lot of people around here just sort of "running out the clock" - I can't imagine we're unique.

Yeah, because none of those people exist in the private sector.

Re:Inefficiencies. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31373464)

My school killed its last mainframe over winter break, moved most of its services to Google over the summer, and kept every IT job. At least the power bill is down.

And? (3, Insightful)

Jack9 (11421) | more than 4 years ago | (#31372846)

I am Jack's unsurprised countenance.

Collosal waste of money (1)

Ohrion (814105) | more than 4 years ago | (#31372862)

There really is no excuse for this disgustingly large waste of money. Simple automation programming is so obvious I just can't imagine how incompetent the decision makers in these organizations must be.

Re:Collosal waste of money (2, Insightful)

OzPeter (195038) | more than 4 years ago | (#31372934)

Simple automation programming is so obvious I just can't imagine how incompetent the decision makers in these organizations must be.

Possibly because the applications are not "simple" and perhaps because you have never dealt with a bureaucracy of any reasonable size. Its not that individuals are dumb, its the cumulative effect of lots of people not having the 100% best picture

Re:Collosal waste of money (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31373408)

None of us are as dumb as all of us...

Re:Collosal waste of money (5, Insightful)

PeterM from Berkeley (15510) | more than 4 years ago | (#31372936)

I bet the problem is budget.

"Well, we'd like to stop doing these stupid things, but we don't have money to deploy a new system."

And no one is willing to pony up the investment in modernization to save money in the long run. There are stupidities like this in every organization!

It is all about the local minimum energy state.
--PM

Nailed it. (4, Insightful)

stomv (80392) | more than 4 years ago | (#31373102)

This is exactly right. Each department would most certainly like to improve efficiencies by streamlining the workflow with IT. The problem is that implementing that IT costs money above and beyond what they've got right now. How to pay for it?

Incidentally, this would have been a great place for stimulus money. Inject money into the system right now (stimulus) in a way that lowers long term costs. Then, once it gets up and running (after months to years of defining, planning, implementing, and testing), you trim down those departments either through reassigning or through attrition.

Yeah yeah, I know around here the perception is that civil servants exist in this parallel twilight zone where they lean on shovels all day at best or interfere with individuals at worst, but that perception simply isn't reality. Some departments are better than others, often because of leadership and resource availability, just like in the private sector and the non-profit sector. Hopefully the CIO can identify opportunities and find the funding to implement savings.

On a side note, this does suggest a way to find those savings: check printing budgets over time. It seems that printing and then re-entering information may be common, and printing budgets may be helpful in identifying where these processes exist.

Re:Nailed it. (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31373502)

The problem is that implementing that IT costs money above and beyond what they've got right now. How to pay for it?

This becomes an especially thorny issue when you have a bunch of nutjobs with teabags glued to their heads picketing your workplace.

lol FTFA (1)

OzPeter (195038) | more than 4 years ago | (#31372880)

"This is not how to run a modern government in the 20th century," he said.

Actually thats probably par for the course for the 20th century!

Oh no, slow patents! (4, Insightful)

Improv (2467) | more than 4 years ago | (#31372886)

I'd rather the patent office simply put the applications in the trash and never approve of anything.

These are actually efficiencies (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31372888)

Because the actual job of the government is not provide effective services, but to employ the most people to do the least effective job in a constant state of perpetual near-failure as to get larger budgets.

Re:These are actually efficiencies (1)

Wyatt Earp (1029) | more than 4 years ago | (#31373572)

Bah.

I work for the Government. Well a state government here in the US, Alaska, and we are pretty darned effective.

Less overhead than other public service I've worked, still a bit more than private sector though.

Who the hell is this lady (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31372890)

Seriously! I don't see this position in the Constitution? I don't remember Congress creating the post? I don't even remember Congress vetting this woman? Where the hell does she think she gets all her power from?

Healthcare (4, Insightful)

iPhr0stByt3 (1278060) | more than 4 years ago | (#31372896)

We're all thinking it, so I'll say it: "Hey, let's let our government handle healthcare to increase effeciency"

Re:Healthcare (2, Funny)

horatio (127595) | more than 4 years ago | (#31372964)

There are only a few of us thinking that, including myself. The rest are now thinking we're trolls for bringing it up.

Re:Healthcare (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31373050)

"The Government" consists of a whole lot of different fiefdoms and agencies. For every agency using manila folders and sneakernet, there are five that use SANs and RDBMS. Vivek's pointing out the worse offenders, but I wouldn't jump to the conclusion that all government agencies are necessarily inefficient. History plays a part in this too. I think if the Veterans Affairs system or the USPTO system were implemented fresh today they would be very different. Heck, there may even be a benefit to transitioning to gov't managed healthcare now as opposed to 40 years ago, simply from the lack of low-tech inertia.

Re:Healthcare (1)

Archangel Michael (180766) | more than 4 years ago | (#31373344)

There are more than a "few" of us. It is really hard though, for the average person to counter the following argument in the face of anecdotal evidence.

"We must do something, this is something, we're doing it, therefore it is what needs to be done"

We don't need to do "something" especially when the something will make things worse, without ever being able to revoke it later, guaranteeing something worse that we can't fix later.

Re:Healthcare (5, Insightful)

99BottlesOfBeerInMyF (813746) | more than 4 years ago | (#31373116)

We're all thinking it, so I'll say it: "Hey, let's let our government handle healthcare to increase effeciency[sic]"

Obviously you haven't dealt with the private healthcare industry. The insurance companies (for example) actually have motivation to make simple task harder for their customers because their job is to get people's money then make it as hard as possible for people to ever get any back. So they invent useless paperwork and rules and procedures to discourage the process. Trust me, I've been there. When you're really, really ill you better hope you have some good friends because there is no way you're going to stay on top of the paperwork and phone calls needed.

Re:Healthcare (1)

garcia (6573) | more than 4 years ago | (#31373182)

The public sector has the same motivation for shifted reasons. By increasing the time required for work they can rationalize additional funding for their department/human capital.

Re:Healthcare (1)

DesScorp (410532) | more than 4 years ago | (#31373296)

I don't know what kind of insurance you have, but I think you need to look for a different provider. I have what is probably pretty run-of-the-mill Blue Cross, and I've been through a couple of surgeries, my wife has been through a couple, and we both have prescriptions, as well as two kids that occasionally get hurt and need emergency room visits, etc. And in all those years, I've filled out very little paperwork. The only thing I pay for up front is a co-pay for visits, surgeries, and drugs. The claim filing process is all automated. Blue Cross sends me an email when a claim is processed.

Re:Healthcare (3, Insightful)

Archangel Michael (180766) | more than 4 years ago | (#31373506)

actually have motivation to make simple task harder

This is only because of how Health Insurance is currently structured. If we had high deductible insurance that didn't cover any maintenance, but only covered rare and emergency situations, then we'd have much lower overall costs.

Insurance is a middle man that not only adds costs to the system, but skims money off the top of everything to boot. This doesn't make insurance companies evil, it just makes them less efficient.

Want to make the system less susceptible to fraud and abuse? Bring the costs closer to the person who is ultimately paying the bills, the health care consumer.

And now, the anecdotal case scenarios will be brought forward about how Grandma is eating dog food, and Tiny Tim needing help for his legs.

Re:Healthcare (-1, Troll)

DigiShaman (671371) | more than 4 years ago | (#31373118)

And I'll add "By bureaucrats who don't know what the hell their doing, or plan on getting kick-backs in return for passing it"

Obama expects - no - plans to fall on the sword for this bill. He will sacrifice democracy and his party just to solidify power for the Federal Gov. Once they control health care, they also control all aspects of our lives that would cost the tax payer extra.

National Health Care = forfeiting of personal freedoms such as what you can eat, drink, smoke, and other physical or mental activities you enjoy doing.

Re:Healthcare (4, Insightful)

99BottlesOfBeerInMyF (813746) | more than 4 years ago | (#31373188)

National Health Care = forfeiting of personal freedoms such as what you can eat, drink, smoke, and other physical or mental activities you enjoy doing.

Umm, what socialized healthcare system in the world stops you from doing any of those? I know some provide incentives for doctors to convince people to not smoke, but I don't know any that make it illegal. For that matter many places with socialized healthcare have more freedom as to what you can smoke. So are you trolling or just a complete wacko?

Re:Healthcare (1)

ColdWetDog (752185) | more than 4 years ago | (#31373364)

I wouldn't bother. Check his sig. He's been lobotomized.

Poor guy, probably doesn't know what hit him.

Re:Healthcare (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31373396)

WTF are you talking about?

I live in a country with national health care and national ID cards. Things aren't perfect and bureaucracy is the same as everywhere, but my government isn't controlling what I can eat, drink, smoke, and other physical or mental activities you enjoy doing. Heck! Even BDSM is legal here! P2P is legal too.

Regarding the case of ID cards, I find it funny that in countries like the US and the UK --with no national ID card-- their citizens are asked to produce some form of ID even more times than citizens in countries with national ID cards. So, yeah, you don't have national ID cards, but you must present some kind of card zillions of times.

Re:Healthcare (1)

gurps_npc (621217) | more than 4 years ago | (#31373480)

Let me get this straight. You see the objections that people have when they TALK about chaning healthcare. You see protests, yelling, screaming, false lies about "death panels", and tons of other crap. You see Democrats losing MASSACHUSETS, the home of the Kennedies over the health care bill?

And your take from all this is that Obama will somehow parlay a healthcare change to CONSOLIDATE power over the USA?

God, I hope and pray the terrorists are as foolish and bad at planning as you are. Because only a total moron would expect that a bad health care bill would increase the Democrats power.

If the healthcare gets passed and what you think will happen happens, then Obama will be unemployed in 3 more years. Obama's best chane for more power is if the bill gets passed and people like it.

Of course, you are probably one of those paranoid fools that thought Obama would outlaw guns and ammo. Their paranoia has driven up the prices of ammo more than double, making many guns and ammo out of stock while Obama has done. NOTHING, ABSOLUTLY NOTHING. Not a single bit of their paranoid fears have come true. Why? Because they listened to people like you instead of actually paying attention to what the Democrats were saying.

Re:Healthcare (1)

kiwimn (1633619) | more than 4 years ago | (#31373130)

Have you ever dealt with the bureaucracy of health insurance companies? How the added paperwork from shit like health care reimbursement accounts? Walk into a doctors office here, get a few tests, and you're likely to get three different bills in the mail. I would MUCH rather have a system where I walk in, get seen, and bugger off home never to see a bill, because I already paid for it with my taxes. Why? Because I recognise that one day I could be the person without health insurance wondering how the hell I am going to pay for getting my kid seen.

Re:Healthcare (4, Insightful)

Valdrax (32670) | more than 4 years ago | (#31373142)

We're all thinking it, so I'll say it: "Hey, let's let our government handle healthcare to increase effeciency"

A single-payer system would eliminate a LOT of inefficiency at the doctor's office level in handling all the differences in the way insurance companies require you to submit claims.

Also worth mentioning is the fact that processing claims faster than private sector healthcare companies is not a particularly high bar to raise in my experiences. It's not like the government has anything like a lock on slow, inefficient, customer-hating bureaucracies. The market doesn't really seem to do much to hold down healthcare costs or promote better customer care, if my limited pool of friends and family are any indicator.

Re:Healthcare (1)

nschubach (922175) | more than 4 years ago | (#31373210)

There's a perfectly valid and working single payer system right now. The customer.

If the customer starts treating their car insurance like their health insurance, you'd dread getting your oil changed or tires rotated because of all the paperwork as well.

Re:Healthcare (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31373252)

A single-payer system would eliminate a LOT of inefficiency at the doctor's office level in handling all the differences in the way insurance companies require you to submit claims.

I can relate to that. Whenever I pay cash for medical treatment (since I can't get insurance) the doctors and nurses are delighted that they don't have to jump through a bunch of hoops and instead can give me exactly what I need.

Re:Healthcare (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31373164)

Couple of points:

  1. The situation with Medicare is actually improving. They contract the work out, and are seeing increased competition/efficiency as a result.
  2. Whatever the healthcare reform, the government will do little of the actual work. They will contract it out, regardless of whether it's single payer, public option, the exchange system, etc.
  3. We have had a long-term deficiency in the progress department in both the public and private sectors. Whether government or private (preferably both), that must change.

But it's very convenient to simply claim that the government sucks and that they want to ruin everything. It's true that the government needs to be managed more effectively, but you have to be a shill if you aren't willing to admit that large corporations are just as inept and screw people over just as readily.

In closing, please compare our healthcare costs/outcomes to the rest of the world. They have much lower costs and still manage better outcomes. If our system is this broken, and you claim that it cannot function as theirs, then I suggest it is time we replace it. I believe our government just needs tweaking, but you may feel otherwise.

Re:Healthcare (3, Informative)

hoshino (790390) | more than 4 years ago | (#31373174)

What's the use of all the private-insurer "efficiency" if they prefer to use it to screw you over for one more dollar?
And I say "efficiency" because health insurance companies in US already have one of the highest overhead costs in the world, so you can hardly called it efficient.

Re:Healthcare (4, Insightful)

QuantumRiff (120817) | more than 4 years ago | (#31373242)

So if the government is a bunch of incompetent, inefficient morons who can never be as good as private industry, then why the hell do you care if they give people the OPTION of choosing a government plan?

It should be obvious to you and your "its cool/trendy/rebelious to be libertarian**" buddies that the government plan will not have anyone sign up for it, and will flop. The Private plans will be cheaper, cover more people, and be fast to respond to needs of their wonderful customers!

Right? So where is the objection?

**I have been a registered Libertarian for 16 years.. I would love if anyone that lately claims to be a libertarian cause they got tired of being republican could actually state where the party stands on many issues.. And I'm getting tired of all the anger, lies, and misdirection lately.. Politics is just getting nasty...

Re:Healthcare (1)

Androclese (627848) | more than 4 years ago | (#31373482)

Go read the Senate Bill. Yes, that is the correct one to read because that is the one they are trying to ram through the House.

Specifically, go find the provisions about the how any business that expends 10% or more of their expenses on health care and offload it to the Government for the low-low price of only 8% off the top.

Now you tell me a single business that would look at that and NOT take it. The "option" is now forced upon the employees because the company made a business decision. Since the "Government Option" will work across State lines, something that is illegal for private insurance companies to do, it will become harder and harder for insurance companies to compete with the Government option, in effect, killing those private insurance companies.

Congratulations, the US Government now has more control over your life and your money... last I checked, I thought we were against that.

Re:Healthcare (1)

phantomfive (622387) | more than 4 years ago | (#31373568)

So if the government is a bunch of incompetent, inefficient morons who can never be as good as private industry, then why the hell do you care if they give people the OPTION of choosing a government plan?

This is apparently what happened in Maine, where they actually have a public option: no one really signed up for it.

I think the reason people dislike the public option is because they view it as the path to 'socialized' medicine (or single payer, but I call it socialized because I am talking about the point of view of those who oppose it). It is easy to see how this could happen: for example, if the new bill requires expensive treatments to be covered, but also prevents premiums from rising, all the other insurance companies will go out of business. The only thing left will be the public option. Whether that is Obama's plan or not, the mechanisms to do so are built into his bill, so it is possible.

Personally all I really want is accessible, affordable healthcare. Whether it comes through a public option or some other way, I don't care so much, but so far no one has presented a plan with that result.

Re:Healthcare (3, Insightful)

X_Bones (93097) | more than 4 years ago | (#31373258)

We're all thinking it, so I'll say it: "Hey, let's let our government handle healthcare to increase effeciency"

uh, no. Some of us are thinking "hey, let's let our government handle healthcare because it's fucking criminal that for-profit entities are allowed to literally and figuratively bleed us dry in order to please their stockholders. And a big contributor to inadequacies in things like Medicare and the VA system stem from a lack of funds for improvements, either because people are too cheap and shortsighted to raise taxes or they have screwed up financial priorities like funding instead the biggest military on the planet so it can go bomb people overseas."

But then again I'm one of those filthy Commies who wants a single-payer healthcare system in the US, so feel free to disregard anything I say.

Re:Healthcare (2, Interesting)

coaxial (28297) | more than 4 years ago | (#31373342)

Yeah, I don't want a faceless government bureaucrat to get in between me and my doctor. That's what private sector bean counting bureaucrats are for!

Unfortunately for you, the facts about socialized medicine are in. They're in from Canada, Europe, Asia, even right here in the USA with Hawaii ("This is a state where regular milk sells for $8 a gallon, gasoline costs $3.60 a gallon and the median price of a home in 2008 was $624,000 — the second-highest in the nation. Despite this, Hawaii’s health insurance premiums are nearly tied with North Dakota for the lowest in the country, and Medicare costs per beneficiary are the nation’s lowest. Hawaii residents live longer than people in the rest of the country, recent surveys have shown, and the state’s health care system may be one reason. In one example, Hawaii has the nation’s highest incidence of breast cancer but the lowest death rate from the disease. [nytimes.com] "), and the facts are that it costs less and improved access to healthcare improves the health of the population.

Meanwhile, the status quo has lead to us having the highest spending in the world [wikipedia.org] , yet getting nothing for it [fivethirtyeight.com] .

The current system is fundamentally broken and doesn't achieve it's social purpose. Scrap it.

Re:Healthcare (2, Informative)

samkass (174571) | more than 4 years ago | (#31373390)

We're all thinking it, so I'll say it: "Hey, let's let our government handle healthcare to increase effeciency"

Let's mark that one up there with the "It's snowing, so global warming can't exist". We don't have to guess how it would work out, anyway. The fact is that Medicare and Medicaid are some of the most efficiently-run medical insurance programs in the country, with a higher percent spent on actual care than any private insurance company. It's too bad that even if the bill passes we wouldn't be able to get a public option.

Got ebcdic? (2, Funny)

voodoo cheesecake (1071228) | more than 4 years ago | (#31372906)

'One reason,' says Kundra, 'is because the USPTO receives these applications online, prints them out, and then someone manually rekeys the information into an antiquated system.'" I wonder if they're using EBCDIC

Re:Got ebcdic? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31373110)

Or whatever was used before EBCDIC on Remington-Rand mainframes.

Inefficient Incentive (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31372922)

In government, the more money you waste, the more money you get. The incentive is to be inefficient.

Caused by the Culture (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31373000)

This tends to be a real cultural problem, with several cultural contributing factors. These include:
1. Resistance to change.
2. Resistance to cutting positions. Many govmnt people would rather do a boring inefficient job than have no job. They are there for the benefits and pay check, not the reward of a job well done. The unions support this because more employees equal more power. The departments support it for the same reason.
3. All efficiency programs tend to be big bang, big buck efforts with a majority doomed to failure. The idea is that everything needs to be fixed at once, or not at all. Besides, it is a lot easier getting $20million for a big project that $10,000 for a quick easy fix that would make a significant difference but not take care of all of the world's ills.
4. Many of the people in govnmt have no real concept of where to begin and when they want to do something, the system means that they eaither hire someone with the same govmnt experience and mindset, or they turn to one of the big consulting firms which design their solutions to milk the most money out of the govnment rather than actually solve the problems. The proposals get written to encourage this as well.

The surprise is not that the inefficiencies exist, it is that many of them have actually been resolved.

lol (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31373014)

and you want these touch holes in charge of your health care?

Cue... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31373028)

Cue "OMG why don't they just use open source? It'd be ever so much easier and it's FREE!!!"

Government? How about in the private sector? (1)

kiwimn (1633619) | more than 4 years ago | (#31373058)

I always laugh at the comments for articles like this. When are people going to realise that there is just as much waste in the private sector? Corporate jets, business lunches, exorbitant salaries, etc are all just another form of waste. Not to mention the fact that plenty of business are only concerned with the short term financial gain (to please shareholders) and not the long term health of the business/product.

How dare you, this is slashdot!!! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31373504)

No critical thinking skills allowed!

The government does a bad job so lets elect people who hate government!
Oh no! The government is even worse! I know, lets elect people who hate government!
Oh no! The government is even worse! I know, lets elect people who hate government! ...
etc

Good for the USPTO (1)

Waffle Iron (339739) | more than 4 years ago | (#31373078)

As long as the USPTO is out there rubber stamping claims, then it's best that their rubber stamp is as inefficient as possible.

The number of patents issued is already far too large and needs to be reduced by an order of magnitude from today's levels. In the absence of truly reforming the patent-industrial-complex to protect only truly exceptional innovations, government waste is better than nothing.

How many days does it take to move a folder? (1)

KumquatOfSolace (1412203) | more than 4 years ago | (#31373104)

Are they using some kind of giant land-snails as intra-office couriers?

Seriously, the delay must be due to the time the folders spend sitting untouched in a filing cabinet or on someone's desk, not in transit. They could just as easily store digital information, unprocessed, on a server or desktop computer for the same amount of time.

Most likely they will blame all problems on lack of computerization, then spend $100 million on a new computer system (which will be obsolete by the time it is complete) and 10 years later the real problems still won't be fixed.

Re:How many days does it take to move a folder? (1)

GodfatherofSoul (174979) | more than 4 years ago | (#31373222)

You're thinking in the micro. Think macro. How much time does it take to sort all those folders? How much time does it take to coordinate and delegate the workload between thousands of people sorting those folders? How long does it take to arrange for transportation of tons of this paper work between offices? What happens when Suzie from management is on vacation and Bill from the loading dock has to wait an extra few days to move said box of folders?

Great....but (1)

andy1307 (656570) | more than 4 years ago | (#31373106)

It's a good thing that he's identified the problem....but..he has no budgetary authority to influence the VA's IT spending decisions. If the VA does decide to upgrade their systems, it's the beltway bandits that will influence the choice of software..not Kundra.

Hobby Lobby? (1)

tthomas48 (180798) | more than 4 years ago | (#31373172)

You ever been to Hobby Lobby? The private sector can do it worse. And at least we can lobby or run for office to make the government use bar-code scanners.

Thus the old libertarian joke... (3, Funny)

engineer_uhg (880695) | more than 4 years ago | (#31373196)

"It's a good thing we don't get all the government we pay for!"

You know, I've dealt with this kind of problem. (5, Insightful)

hey! (33014) | more than 4 years ago | (#31373202)

There are all kinds of ideological explanations for why this *must* be so, but I don't think they hold water.

My first management job was at a largish non-profit where I inherited a three year IT request backlog. So I analyzed the backlog and discovered that most of it consisted of requests for software to speed moving decisions from what amounted to the user's in tray to the out tray, and pretty soon I realized all those in-out transformations formed a network. I charted out the network, and it was *obvious* that certain key information latencies could be reduced from 35 days to about half a day by rerouting the information through this network. In fact, most of the work in the network could be eliminated entirely, while providing better, But rather than spring this on people, I just laid out the charts and they figured everything out for themselves. That way I didn't have to persuade anyone.

Now the interesting question was how this kind of situation could happen. It's not because the people were stupid. They weren't. It wasn't because they were lazy or not dedicated. Quite the contrary. Lack of profit motive certainly played a part in the evolution of the problem, but it did not create the least barrier to addressing the problem.

What we had was two levels of people in the organization. People down in the ranks who cared about the mission of the organization and understood their local piece of the process. And people at the top who sometimes cared about the mission of the organization, but were mainly focused on shmoozing. But nobody had any idea what the *whole* process looked like. So the people in the ranks were largely left to guide themselves in solving problems. They were self-starters, they had initiative, what they lacked was a global understanding of how everything fit together. So they talked to their neighbors in the existing process about where they were under pressure, then they demanded the higher ups provide them with tools to reduce the pressure at individual points. The higher ups had no idea how to fix these things, so they just stuck the requests onto the back of a three year queue, and when things began to catch fire they'd demand the queue get resorted.

But the queue shouldn't have existed at all. When folks were done applying common sense to the big picture I provided, most of the dreaded request queue evaporated. My backlog went forty months down to under thirty days, and I didn't have a lick of code written.

What was missing was *leadership*. In my book leadership equals caring about the results plus understanding how the process works.

The common variable (1)

lsmo (1106631) | more than 4 years ago | (#31373240)

This is not a problem of gov't. This happens in all forms of commerce public or private sector. The common factor is the HUMAN in the loop. Let me clarify that it is not all humans but there are those among us that side step all responsibility and accountability. They look for positions of protection and abuse them. Just look at the abuse of tenure in the school systems. Sorry to say it but the problem can not be solved unless we change our culture. I see this everyday but since I don't have any social connections to management I am pretty much powerless to act. If I do act it would be me on the way out the door. Sad but very true. Just my 2

It's about time someone provided evidence. (1)

FriendlyPrimate (461389) | more than 4 years ago | (#31373324)

I'm glad SOMEONE has finally point out what some of these inefficiencies are. I (like many others here) consider myself a fiscal conservative. But it bugs the heck out of me that Republicans are always complaining about government inefficiency, but they never provide any evidence to back it up, or propose anything to improve the inefficiencies (except cutting taxes...whatever THAT's supposed to do). Republicans don't WANT to solve inefficiencies in government for fear of losing a useful campaign issue. Everything is "pork"....unless it's money being spent in their district, then it's vital for helping their economy. And that makes them all the more hypocritical in my eyes. Unfortunately, the Democrats aren't doing anything about it either, but at least they're not hypocrites.

I would LOVE it if Obama started an Efficiency-in-Government initiative, but he hasn't lived up to the hype. And of course the Republicans/Fox News would somehow manage to spin it as being socialist/communist anyway.

Vivek Claim Staking!!! (2, Insightful)

mpapet (761907) | more than 4 years ago | (#31373372)

1. I hardly doubt this guy just fired off this screed on his own.
2. So, Vivek, how much would a new Patent Administration cost? How long would it take? You wouldn't have your job long enough to see the project complete, successfully or otherwise.
3. How about that VA system huh? Let's stake your entire career on changing it. Ohhh now that YOUR skin is in the game, suddenly the status-quo looks pretty good.

For every system that can be selectively discredited, there are 10 or more that are cost effective and relatively efficient with competent government employees in them.

Inaccurate about the Patent Office (4, Informative)

Grond (15515) | more than 4 years ago | (#31373384)

The Patent Office does not do that and hasn't for years, except of course for papers that are mailed or faxed in. The Patent Office's Electronic Filing System [uspto.gov] is an end-to-end electronic system for the most part.

Now, the EFS system does convert searchable PDFs to bitmap PDFs, which causes them to lose their searchability and greatly increases the file size, which is still incredibly backwards, but not quite as bad as printing things out and scanning them back in.

"Cure" worse than disease? (3, Insightful)

walterbyrd (182728) | more than 4 years ago | (#31373418)

How many mega-disasters have we read about here on slashdot that go like this: some government wanted to upgrade their outdated system, so they hired some ultra-expensive contracting company. The project went way over-budget and took way longer than estimated. By the time it was done, it was obsolete. Besides being obsolete, nothing worked correctly. The government spent insane mega-bucks to try and fix the borked project, but everything was too horridly broken to fix. So they decided to spend more mega-bucks to go back to the old system.

A true tale of "Thatcherite" bureaucratic thinking (1)

presidenteloco (659168) | more than 4 years ago | (#31373436)

I was commissioned to contribute to a large information system development proposal to a government that shall remain nameless.

The first draft of the proposal I submitted had selling points like:

"If you let us build this information bridging system (essentially a data warehouse and workflow system), you will be able to process these applications many times faster, and with better information available to the application reviewers in different departments,
so that better decisions can be made."

This, was a non-starter.
In a meeting with the government representatives, I actually heard them say: "We don't want to be able to process applications faster. That would reduce our staff requirements and our departmental budget."

So we came back with a proposal that said:
"We'll build this system so you can package up the government data you have from various departments, and sell it
to corporations and the public. (Re-sell it back to the owners, more accurately, since the data was public property already paid for by taxpayers). This way, your departments can make a revenue stream, maybe even a profit."

Wow, think of the brownie points we'd get for that from our political overlords! They thought.

And we got the multi-million dollar contract.

I didn't know... (1)

JustinFreid (1723716) | more than 4 years ago | (#31373442)

...Terry Gilliam directed the USPTO.

I love government inefficiency (1)

Brandybuck (704397) | more than 4 years ago | (#31373470)

I love government inefficiency. It slows down the works. It's the next best thing to gridlock. When it comes to infringing my rights, taking my money, regulating my conduct, and snooping into my affairs, I want the government to be as inefficient as possible.

Do you guys really want the USPTO cranking out fifty thousand patents a day?

Cause: Refusal to Pay for Modernization (1)

coaxial (28297) | more than 4 years ago | (#31373476)

None these inefficiencies have anything to do with the size of the government, but rather has everything to do with inadequate funding of government. I'm serious. Let's say the USPTO came to congress and said, "We need $200 million to modernize our system, after two years of installation and training, we'll have a system that can cut the approval process for patents down to six months, and can also decrease the number of invalid patents." Antigovernment groups would be up in arms. "Oh no! An expansion of government! Too inefficient! Government it is axiomatically bad at everything! The horror! The horror!" But no, they don't actually want to fix the problems (because that would run counter to their belief that everything government ever does is bad, regardless of the facts).

All this "starve the beast" mentality is, as Reagan's Chief of Staff, Bruce Bartlett said [politico.com] , "simply unrealistic to think that tax cuts will continue to be a viable political strategy."

You lose, by the the old playground rule: your-own-guy-says-so.

After all, we all know what type of job they guy that sits around complaining about how he doesn't want to do the job does right? He does a crappy job. We all know this. We know this from childhood. We've all done it ourselves. So what type of government do you think you're going to get from people that don't like government? A crappy one of course. Only now that same malingerer turns around says, "Gee, government sure does suck now doesn't it?" No, you're intentionally doing a shitty job.

Kundra, The Problem Solver (1)

Paxton (24233) | more than 4 years ago | (#31373494)

Is he going to solve this with COBOL or skip logic, or maybe a holodeck?

Just curious.

+1 internets for anyone who knows what I'm talking about...

Sounds familiar (1)

Jodka (520060) | more than 4 years ago | (#31373552)

I worked in an IT office of a state government for a short period.

The system in place was that the department was staffed and run by incompetent unionized government employees, unqualified and incapable of doing their jobs. Union dues were mandatory for all state employees, there was no freedom to opt out. The powerful state employee union guaranteed that state union employees could never be fired. Mostly they screwed stuff up and collected paychecks. The actual work was done by private contractors. Some of which were honest and hard working. Others were deceitful and lazy and they had not problem pulling the wool over their incompetent paymasters in state government.

The kind if inefficiencies which which Kundra sites are an eternal and intrinsic aspect of government; Public employee unions insure that incompetent employees remain employed in government. Incompetent employees, by definition, operate wastefully and inefficiently. The power to tax insures that no matter how wasteful, government agencies continue. That is unlike private enterprises which are required to have a net social benefit, producing goods or services of equal or grater value than what they consume.

The examples which Kundra sites are symptomatic manifestations of the government system of waste. His public expression of opposition to government waste will make him popular with a public which shares those sentiments, but as a member of an administration which seeks to grow that system by historic proportions his real role is to enable that expansion by allaying concerns using the false promise that something is being done.

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