Monday, August 15, 2011


Let Us Justify Government Organizations Anew

A Radical Approach to Government Review and Citizen Approval

At last report, the number of organizations in our government has exceeded 1,177 according to the LSU government accounting group.  This includes the major departments, agencies, commissions, boards, committees and the like, and the number is growing by hundreds under Obama! The idea I believe to be highly worthwhile would be to put each of these organizations under the public spotlight by law, and force them to justify their existence to the public, and then to their congressional representatives. By justification I mean a thorough review of their purpose, mission, leadership, staffing, plans, budget, contractor involvements, long-term commitments, principal accomplishments over the past five years, and projections for the future. In order to be fair, every organization should be scheduled for review, thus stopping political influence from omitting favorite groupings.

To do any major part of 1,177 oganizations would take a very long time. We have a mammoth government! If we could do 100 a year by using, first the filled out forms from each organization stating their case justifying their existence, budget and staffing, and then by using multiple objective teams analysing each one of the organizations and then presenting their findings for approval by public vote after allowing for a period of study by the public. This would easily require about 12 or more years, or 3 presidential terms, 2 Senatorial terms, and 6 Representative terms! There may be a few shortcuts available by referring to the Constitution for guidance in each case, by accepting the defining law for the organization, by accepting the organization's written case, or by a combination of these justifications, thus reducing the workload and time.

The order in which each organization is scheduled would be a significant battle in the Congress (as would the entire idea of course), but perhaps the order of their establishment in law would be the appropriate sequence.  Thus older and perhaps antiquated organizations would go first.

The recommendations of the teams would be presented for voting in a series of national referendums, and the line item recommendations to be voted on for each organization would be to either:
1. keep or dissolve the organization over an appropriate time frame.
2. reduce the budget of the organization, and cut its mission and staff appropriately over time..
3. hold the budget, mission and staff steady as it is.
4. raise the budget, and add to the mission and staff appropriately.
5. consolidate two or more organizations and reduce administrative staff and budget.
6. or other possible changes to be determined.

The results of the referendums would supercede current law governing the organizations in question, unless Congress and the President take specific steps to alter the recommendations in the law.  The only other appeal would be to the Supreme Court, or a number of Courts convened by the Supreme Court for the specific purpose of review, because of the probable heavy volume of challenges that would ensue (presumably 100 a year or so!).

While we are at it, we could also form referendums to justify or reject the formation of unions in the government, justify or reject the use of earmarks, justify or reject term limits for Senators and Congressmen, and justify or reject the need for a balanced budget each year, among other possible reforms of the government. It is perhaps the case that such a legislative approach to reforms would be far preferable to a Constitutional Convention, since such a convention could not be controlled as to subjects and conclusions, which might lead to objectionable results.

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