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Jan 15

The Washington Monthly Focuses on Fixing Government

The January/February 2015 issue of The Washington Monthly has three excellent articles on the importance of government reform. Well worth going out and getting a copy.

In the first article, editor Paul Glastris argues that reforming government is the key to the success of the second progressive era. He pledges that future issues will further explore reforming government.

Then, in the second article, Dr. Donald Kettl explains the ten secret truths. Personally, I was pleasantly surprised by this article because I have always been unimpressed with Dr. Kettl’s “vending machine government” model. To me, the vending machine government model furthered the split between citizens and their government.

But, Dr. Kettl seems to set vending machine government aside to make great points in his article. He starts the ten truths explaining how government works better than most people think and that much of government’s work is not done by government. That is why hiring more government workers will make government work better while realizing that government cannot operate with the private sector because government has to meet higher standards. Congress also has to share the blame for why government does not work along with Presidents who make management mistakes. Overall, Dr. Kettl’s ten truths are a great overview of the major impediments to good government.

The third article is a fascinating case of how a dedicated public servant finally decided to leave the Congressional Research Service (CRS). I especially found the article ironic because of the current emphasis on a data-driven government and evidence-based policy making. The author describes how the CRS declined from a well-respected and essential information source to Congress to another casualty of the bitter partisanship of Congress.

I like the direction that The Washington Monthly is taking on reforming government.

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