Making Government Work Well
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  • theresanursemom

    Many on the left seem to grossly overestimate government’s ability to do things well, not unlike the stereotypical little guy who acts as if he’s ten feet tall and bulletproof after a few beers. The various complications of the government’s hiring and workplace practices cause the government to perform difficult tasks and meet complex challenges about as well as someone who’s drank to excess as well.

  • Pete

    Many of those in government employ are there as a make-work effort.

    There is really little interest in government for efficiency as efficiency means less jobs.

  • qet

    I think Via Meadia is unclear on the political economy of central governments. “Making government work” does not mean what Via Meadia thinks it means. Right now our central government works better than ever for the political constituencies for whom it is important to Congress and the President that it work.

    • Andrew Allison

      As in ACA????

  • Anthony

    In reading Quick Take, a lesson came to mind: we must face the fact that there are a good many things in our character and in our national life that are inimical to standards (complacency, allure of easy or fast money, willingness to tolerate incompetence protected by bias, etc.). Essentially, Francis Fukuyama in writing about principle/agent/organizational mission is explicating on the aims of a free people via its government obligations democratically structured and the hazards faced. “Keeping a free society free, vital and strong is no job for the half-educated and the slovenly.” At bottom, Fukuyama infers that talk about government is meaningless until we Americans apprehend its quality and purpose.

  • Jacksonian_Libertarian

    As an advocate of small government, I want a government manned by the incompetent, it makes accumulating the political will to fire them all, much easier. That, and I believe that without the “feedback of competition”, any improvements will be temporary and the benefits very small. Making an Apple, or a Google, out of a government monopoly is impossible. So, the only way to reduce government inefficiency, is to limit the size of government, because all government is inefficient.

    • Andrew Allison

      “I want a government manned by the incompetent, it makes accumulating the political will to fire them all, much easier.” Really? Any examples to offer? How about some discussion of why government is inefficient and how to best deal with the unfortunate necessity of having it?

      I have several ideas: strict interpretation of the separation of powers, sunset on all regulations and zero-based budgeting might be be a good start.

  • lukelea

    re: “a civil service that has been in decline”

    How much is this due to restrictions on the use of rigorous civil service exams that have disparate impact on different racial groups? It is my understanding that such tests are no longer legal in private industry. If so it would be just one example of how denial of the facts of human diversity leads to bad public policy. And I mean bad for everybody, not just the ones who don’t get the job.

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