Zients: Why streamlining government makes sense

Granting President Barack Obama the authority to streamline and reorganize government is “common sense and good management,” according to the Office of Management and Budget’s acting director.

In a March 27 op-ed for Politico, OMB’s Jeffrey Zients and John Engler, former Michigan governor who now heads the Business Roundtable, noted that while the world has evolved radically in the past three decades, “the federal government has stayed stuck in the past.”

Throughout the years, the federal government has added new programs and offices but infrequently downsized or eliminated departments or agencies. The consequences from that include overlapping and duplicative responsibilities that waste taxpayers’ money and culminate in more bureaucracy, as detailed by a Feb. 29 report by the Government Accountability Office, the authors write.

In January, Obama called on Congress to reinstate a power previously held by 20th-century presidents that allowed them to submit plans to Congress to restructure government. Zients has emerged as his point man on the request, urging Congress to grant the authority in various public appearances.

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Camille Tuutti is a former FCW staff writer who covered federal oversight and the workforce.

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Reader comments

Thu, Mar 29, 2012 Robert MD

Caution Moving Forward - We cannot forget history here. Certain aspects of government enable society to move forward and prevent business from becoming the new rulership. What we really need are rules that ensure political positions are staffed by people who are really representives. We need laws that prevent people with extreme incomes from entering political office. Their views are focused on areas that DO NOT represent the general population. We have allowed the rotating doors of Goldman & Sachs fill our government for far too long. I propose we enact new laws for government performance and accountability. Gone should be the days that "We the People" allow the extreme rich manage our wallets. Government should be held to higher standards of performance. America can be greater but it takes better leadership and involvement of the public. Get engaged and get involved with fixing the real problems like disease, education, energy, infrastructure, and trade. America could be a much bettet place if we focused on the core performance issues that only government can fix. Use caution with reactionary measures such as downsizing government. We have to carefully analyze the impacts before we go off half-cocked on a decreased size is better rampage. One example of bad side effects is downsizing food inspection workforces. People will certainly die if these positions disappear. You can easily apply this concept to many other areas of government. What we really should be focused on is higher levels of business efficency and performance. If we hold the government to higher levels of performance it would have the same desired effect as downsizing, except it would have the effect of improving standards. Business processes are the perfect area to start with. I see NO reason why Capital Hill employees have special wages. Government employee's should have uniform pay structure. Capital employees wages are unfairly high because their closer to the rich. Follow the money, this is clearly an issue of being close to the rich who made unjust decisions. Another area is policy structure . If government ran in certain areas like corporate business it would cut certain activities out. An example could be common policy structures. Many agencies merely rewrite what is dictated by their parent agency. Why are we maintaining efforts thay merely duplicate efforts? We could easily improve government at scale by implementing common Business Process Models (BPM). BPM is a reusable electronic process that can be electronically shared. Highly effective organizations leverage it in the daily business operations. Point is we have bigger problems then so-called big government.

Thu, Mar 29, 2012

Give me a break! I've heard about "streamlining" in the Government for over 30 years.

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