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Government operations: slow and steady or pick up the pace?

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Wide White: Government operations: slow and steady or pick up the pace?

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Government operations: slow and steady or pick up the pace?

As they say, there are two sides to every coin. When that coin is the government, it's no different.

I work with numerous government agencies so I get to see things from the insider's point of view. Here are 2 direct quotes I've heard from clients who work inside 2 different government agencies:

"Only 1/3 of the government workforce is productive."
"Seriously, Congress doesn’t even take as long as we do!"

Of course, it would be easy to take these quotes as direct evidence that government is inefficient, works horribly, etc. However, my experience with government agencies has actually been pretty good and really hasn't been that different from my work with the private sector. While there are certainly bureaucratic hurdles to jump through at times, I don't find them to be much different than what I've experienced in the corporate world.

But like it or not, these comments are reflective of the feelings of many people both inside and outside of government. Government workers aren't much happier about the delays they face than those outside the government.

Contrast these sentiments with the complaints we often see when a new political party takes power. When Democrats swept into Washington in 2008, Republicans cried foul as Democrats rushed legislation through with little input from Republican members. Republicans wanted to know where their voice was. Likewise, we see Wisconsin Democrats and their supporters contending for more time with the budget repair bill Republicans are trying to pass. I've seen vehement arguments from Democratic legislators and others arguing that more time is needed to read and debate the bill.

So which is it? Should the government and Congress operate more quickly and efficiently or should legislation and initiatives take months to push through?

I think the faster government can move the better. Faster isn't always better, but in a system that moves quickly, bad decisions can be reversed and weeded out just as quickly as they were enacted, whereas good decisions at least move through more quickly.

Systems in which the wheels turn slowly don't necessarily produce smarter decisions, and those decisions that prove to be bad just take that much longer to be undone.



Blogger James A. N. Stauffer declared,

Move quickly after the bill is publicized for a short time. :-)

2/22/2011 7:05 AM  

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