A Nation of Fools by Peary Perry
“It’s Alive…It’s Alive..”
To start us off this week, I offer the following quote :
“The problem is, and always has been, that once government programs and agencies are created, they quickly become sacrosanct and virtually impossible to destroy. As Ronald Reagan said, ‘Government programs, once launched, never disappear … a government bureau is the nearest thing to eternal life we’ll ever see on this earth!’ So it doesn’t matter that the Department of Education doesn’t educate, or that the Department of Energy doesn’t produce energy. It’s government and, thus, by definition good in the minds of the Washington establishment.” –columnist Cal Thomas
Truer words were never spoken. One has to wonder if anyone, anyone out there has a complete understanding of just how many agencies are in our government? Or better yet, what the functions and annual progress indices are for any of these agencies. I was surfing the internet the other day and ran across an interesting federal agency called the FLC. Never heard of it? No wonder, here is a description of what it is and what it does:
“The Federal Laboratory Consortium for Technology Transfer (FLC) is the nationwide network of federal laboratories that provides the forum to develop strategies and opportunities for linking laboratory mission technologies and expertise with the marketplace.”
I’m certain this made you feel better didn’t it? How many government employees are working at this place? What is their budget and what do they produce or accomplish? How can we find out if we wanted to do so? You can’t look at their website and see any of this information. Public companies post this kind of information on their annual reports and websites for the entire world to see, but I bet you’d have to file a freedom of information request to see anything about this agency. I realize my question might be broad, but private enterprise companies are judged based upon their annual performance. Generally this consists of something as simple as …did we bring in more revenue than we spent in expenses? It’s all fine to discuss such things as these next couple of items (from their mission statement):
• Promote and facilitate the full range of technical cooperation between the federal laboratories and America’s large and small businesses, academia, state and local governments, and federal agencies.
• Provide direct services to member laboratories and agencies in support of their technology transfer efforts.
• Enhance efforts that couple federal laboratories with American industry and small businesses to strengthen the nation’s economic competitiveness.
But my question is how much actually got accomplished in any given year to improve the gross domestic product of this nation by increasing any one business segment? If you are spending millions each year and have no quantitative method of assessing your effectiveness, then what is the purpose of your existence in the first place?
How many agencies such as this one do we have in this country? Who reviews them after they have been completed to determine if they are really making any headway with their programs or are they just engaging in pointless watermelon talk? Watermelon talk is a local term for; well you know what it is, don’t you?
I once bid on a government contracting job that employed about 50 people and had a budget of several million a year. My bid came in at about ½ the cost and used about ½ the number of employees. The bid was rejected and the entire process stayed with the municipality. In an after action meeting I inquired why the government needed twice as many employees as it would take for me to do the job. Their answer was that the government supervisors kept asking for more employees to get the job done on time. No one had ever asked if the employees were being efficient with their time (they weren’t) or if the processes could have been improved upon (it could have been) or was anyone actually looking at performance on a regular basis (no one was) so their budget requirements keep being increased year after year.
If you and I ran a private business the same way the government runs their business, we would have been broke a long time ago. But then isn’t that the current status of our national debt? Fiscal responsibility should be more than an election year slogan; it should be a mission statement.
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