The era of talking about shrinking big government will never be over. Remember back in the 1990s, when Vice President Al Gore headed up an effort to streamline the federal bureaucracy? The “Reinventing Government” program would save untold amounts of taxpayer money by ferreting out inefficiencies, redundancies, wasteful spending of all sorts.
How did that work out?
Remember a decade earlier, when President Ronald Reagan, long a vocal critic of the bloated federal bureaucracy, vowed to cut and cut and cut, even going so far as to propose the elimination of the Department of Education?
How’d that work out?
Now, a couple of years into the second decade of the third millennium, President Barack Obama is talking about — you guessed it — streamlining the federal government, specifically, combining the functions of various departments and agencies that deal with commerce and trade.
A cynic might ask how this is likely to turn out. But the effort is worthy, and the fact that it happens to come during an election year does nothing to change that.
While the knee-jerk, anti-government set have little of value to offer to the discussion, they’ll be at it full force. The flaccidness and predictability of their statements should do nothing to temper serious efforts at genuine reform.
No gigantic bureaucracy can be easily transformed. By its very nature — an incomprehensible number of parts, many of them designed for an earlier time, others not exactly meshing well with their counterparts — a change here might have an unexpected result there. This is as true in the private sector as it is in the public.
But keeping up with the times is imperative. Tackling the effort in pieces, making changes bit by bit, is a sensible way to proceed.
— The Republican of