JOBS: Do The Politicians Really Get It?

Do you think those folks in Washington D.C. really get what it means to people to have meaningful work? Quite frankly, I don’t think most do. They have spent years developing a regulatory landscape that does an increasingly good job at ensuring bureaucrats have jobs, and that encourages employers to ship goods-producing jobs out of the country. Then they excuse their missteps by making statements that job growth in the future will be in a service sector, servicing what, the federal government? Countries that do not produce, food, energy, and goods are called third world nations, so what have we become?

North Dakota is one of the few states with low unemployment and a budget surplus, and it is not difficult see the reasons why—energy production, food production, and manufacturing. As a result, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the other service-producing sectors are also healthy. Taking care of our basic needs is good business. It creates jobs and, in my opinion, is best done by the private sector.

What does government produce? Well quite frankly it is not the job of government to produce goods—it is a service sector and that really is the heart of my beef. Our federal government has become overly self-serving rather than being representative of the people—a good portion of whom would like a decent job.

It is increasingly being reported that our federal government is inefficient and burdensome to our economy. ABC’s Mathew Jaffe reported on February 28, 2011: “In a new report obtained by ABC News, the Government Accountability Office determined that ‘reducing or eliminating duplication, overlap, or fragmentation could potentially save billions of taxpayer dollars annually and help agencies provide more efficient and effective services.’”

On you can find highlights of the GAO duplication report that gives examples like:

Domestic food assistance—18 programs and three federal agencies, overlapping programs with undetermined effectiveness

Homeless programs—20 programs, 7 agencies, fragmentation of programs, administration burdensome to providers

Job training and employment—47 programs (44 overlap with at least one other program), 7 agencies, only 5 of the 47 programs GAO surveyed had an impact study

Teacher quality—82 distinct programs on teacher quality, many duplicate sub-goals, 10 agencies, 53 of the 82 programs received less than $50 million yet many had their own separate administrative processes, no government wide strategy to minimize fragmentation, overlap or duplication

Food safety, 15 agencies

Economic development, 80 programs, 4 agencies

…and many more examples. The burden of federal duplication, overlap, and fragmentation drains resources from our economy, has created a complicated and inefficient regulatory environment for employers, and has investors circling their wagons or investing and creating jobs in countries other than ours. Even Hugh Hefner (in an interview on Piers Morgan Tonight) said the Obama administration needs to focus on jobs before tackling health care.

So what do I suggest? Well first of all, being anti-government does not help. Good government is essential to the health of our country. It is about speaking to your legislators and telling them that it is important, to you as a voter, that they work on reorganizing the federal government to become more efficient and responsive to the people and businesses investing in this country.

It is a world economy and if our country is to grow good jobs, we cannot afford to have a wasteful government.

2 Responses

  1. It’s true – there’s a plethora of government agencies and programs out there – so many that not only can’t the government track and regulate what it’s doing (and funding), but the public who should benefit on a productive level from the system have no idea what’s out there, or where to find what they may need at any given time… and they are left to rely on confused, over-regulated, and minimally informed workers to guide them in the best, most effective direction. It’s a clogged, burdened system that’s lost focus and direction – the good intentions are buried in bureaucracy.

    I think that government, while intending to close loopholes and extend funding to new and more effective means of assistance, has failed to review, cap, and close altogether outdated ineffective programs… the focus is on building and updating, with little consideration to the crumbling foundation beneath all the new construction. It would be entirely possible to do more with less – however, doing this would require change (and change is scary), and time and determination… and a complete lack of political posturing, which I don’t see as being possible anytime soon.

    I also agree that there needs to be more concern, and more focus on the issue of outsourcing… we have set ourselves up to encourage other country’s dependence on us, and our dependence on other countries. Our dependence grows from an insatiable appetite for convenience… but were our situation drastically altered (for whatever reason) and we had to rely only on ourselves to sustain this country, I worry that we would fail, miserably. So, how do we refocus on and encourage “in-sourcing”? How to we recreate independence and self-reliance? How to we get our political machine to streamline and detangle, and free itself up for a more constructive purpose?

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