Tag Archives: bureaucracy

Creating Golden Rule Social Services

“Each individual has different needs, different capabilities, different dreams. What I see in government programs is an effort to fit people into boxes, to make people easy to administer, rather than to provide resources we need to become our greatest selves.”

Tamika Jackson
Doing Unto Others; The Golden Rule Revolution

With more than 100 government welfare and life-improvement programs potentially available as sources of support, Americans most in need of assistance are often overwhelmed by the sheer magnitude and complexity of government support structures.

Every year, elected officials debate adding to or deleting from this over-mixed structure, providing never-ending fodder for the divisive hate game dominating politics today. During these debates, accusations quickly turn overwrought.

Hate the poor. Burn taxpayer money. Racist. Enabler. One percenter. Cultural rot. No accountability.

When it comes to social service programs, this debate misses a more critical issue.

Existing programs are bureaucracy centric, designed to remain within the purview of particular legislative committees or to ensure the legacy of a particular elected official. Each has its own application, funding requirements, auditing processes, staffing and timelines aimed more at fulfilling process requirements than at providing support. Many programs are established with set financial cliffs that force participants to lose nearly as much, and sometimes more, in support than they gain in income when they work additional hours or earn a raise, providing dramatic disincentives to career development.

People and their needs don’t fit neatly within congressional or state legislative jurisdictions. Continue reading

Specifically, Mr. President, This Is How to Fix Obamacare

Waking up this morning to read that Obamacare fell below Miley Cyrus, Kim Kardashian and Minecraft in Yahoo’s most searched terms of 2013 reminded me that substance trails celebrity in America even on the most consequential of issues. Buried further in the news, it appears President Obama also doubled down on his insistence that Obamacare is working. Combined, these stories convinced me to break my self-imposed health care pontification ban.

Specifically, I’m taking the President up on his challenge yesterday to “tell us specifically what you’d do … to make insurance more secure.” Sure, it’s a question better seriously considered before the law was passed on a strictly partisan basis, but I’ll take it as an open invitation.

The vast majority of those debating what’s wrong with Obamacare offer either fixes that tinker around the edges of the conceptually unsound Affordable Care Act or that seek unfettered return to a pre-2010 health care and insurance system battered by its own conceptual flaws.

I believe access to quality, affordable health care is the proper target, not necessarily insurance coverage as the President states. My approach focuses on reducing costs, increasing access and equity, and improving quality.

Continue reading

Is Being a “Paid Liar” Identical to Being Partisan?

When House Government Reform Chairman Darrell Issa calls White House spokesman Jay Carney a “paid liar,” is he really just saying that Carney is a committed Democrat. Political science research has shown for decades that political partisans see the world through highly shaded lenses, and can’t even agree on basic facts, as a recent Washington Post blog article noted.

A 1988 American National Election Studies survey showed that more than 50 percent of people who identified themselves as strong Democrats believed inflation had become somewhat or substantially worse during President Reagan’s tenure. In fact, inflation fell from 13.5 percent to 4.1 percent under Reagan’s leadership. Princeton Professor Larry Bartels noted that, “Democrats were strikingly impervious to the good economic news” in his review of that study. Republicans don’t handle facts any better. Brendan Nyhan of Dartmouth and Jason Reifler of Georgia State found that Republicans presented with news articles pointing out that there were no WMDs in Iraq were more likely to say that such weapons were found than Republicans who didn’t read those articles. The truth, in other words, triggered a partisan backlash of their view of the facts, as the Post story noted.

It gets worse. Continue reading

Are We Really All Just Too Stupid?

Those who try to restrict basic freedoms do so on the basis that people sub-optimize outcomes through dysfunctional decision-making, even when the costs of a poor decision are entirely ours to absorb. To some, this dysfunction is so bad that we can’t be trusted to determine the size of our own soft drink without government control. If we can’t be trusted to consider the long-term impacts of beverage consumption, shouldn’t we question whether Americans are intelligent enough to be allowed to vote? After all, voting should require far more detailed analysis than does selecting between Coca Cola or water. The linked article raises other concerns worth considering about nanny state advocates. As government usurps more and more of our lives, it’s important to consider at what point does the arrogance of the bureaucratic “experts” end?

Zero Calories to Zero Population.


Broken Politics, Bipartisan Failure

News that a bipartisan U.S. Senate group has agreed on immigration reform principles gives hope to the idea that problem solving in Washington could push partisanship to a temporary political pasture.

Our deeply flawed political process will turn any such grazing grasses bitter soon enough, though, even if an agreement is reached and a significant issue is temporarily addressed.

Four political system flaws are the biggest impediments to solution-oriented government:

  • Segregation
  • Primaries
  • Money, and
  • Bureaucracy

Continue reading