The Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee is taking a stab at the government inefficiency beast. The committee is set to hold a hearing on 380 ways to make Washington more efficient.
The number 380 comes from congressional reports outlining 380 areas of government waste and duplication. Yet despite the catchy title, governtment watchers aren’t getting too excited.
“Oh, here we go again,” says Paul Light, who teaches public service at New York University. “This is like watching Casa Blanca for the hundredth time.”
Light says there have been many efficiency efforts, but they usually die away because they require painful change. That hasn’t stopped just about every president from trying. Light says a Clinton administration initiative to reinvent government did have some success. It was spear headed by Vice President Al Gore, who smashed an expensive government-approved ash tray on the David Letterman show to promote it.
Gore’s initiative sprang from a reinventing government book co-authored by Ted Gaebler. It’s now printed in 22 languages. “Just last year into Mongolian,” says Gaebler. “The year before that in Farsi. So the Iranians are using it.”
Gaebler says he’s always getting international requests for cost-cutting advice. But he hasn’t gotten any calls from the U.S. government.
Got ideas for the government that worked for you? Tell us in the comments.
If you’re a member of your local public radio station, we thank you — because your support helps those stations keep programs like Marketplace on the air. But for Marketplace to continue to grow, we need additional investment from those who care most about what we do: superfans like you.
Your donation — as little as $5 — helps us create more content that matters to you and your community, and to reach more people where they are – whether that’s radio, podcasts or online.
When you contribute directly to Marketplace, you become a partner in that mission: someone who understands that when we all get smarter, everybody wins.