Inside Obama’s Stealth Startup for Modernizing Federal Bureaucracy
The History of Red Tape
That hated phrase, red tape, had its origins in the 16th Century. Henry VIII, the King of England, sent numerous petitions, bound in red tape, to Pope Clement in the Vatican in an effort to annul his marriage to Catherine of Aragon. Red tape and the delays required to process and obtain needed documents or permits represent the worse aspect of any government; its intransigence and inflexibility. In the case of Henry VIII, the Pope denied his many petitions. Henry, a man with a can do attitude, founded his own church, The Church of England and was rid of the first in a long line of wives. His attitude may be necessary to change the use of red tape by the government of the United States of America.
President Obama Desires Change in the Way Government Functions
The President of the United States of America, Barack Obama, is trying to change this dreaded aspect of government’s inability to function quickly and efficiently. If he is able to achieve his goal, he will have changed the operation of government for the better. A smoothly functioning government is needed to satisfy the needs of its citizens or face revolution. Bureaucracy has been increasing since the implementation of programs following the Second World War. The beginnings of the Veterans Administration coupled with the new Social Security Administration brought a heightened level of bureaucracy to the existing government.
New Programs Require More Bureaucracy
The idea of our president is to modernize the systems which run our government. The Internal Revenue Service, Social Security Administration, Medicare and Medicaid, Departments of the Army and Navy, Veteran’s Administration; all U.S. departments are in need of a complete overhaul. His reasoning is simple. Our president wants to use Information Technology, put in place by the Information Technology experts in the private sector, to update the processing, handling and distribution of information for the U.S. Government. One only has to recall the poor handling of pertinent intelligence information and information sharing concerning the terrorists responsible for the 9/11 attacks.
Simple Idea but a Complex Solution
The idea is simple enough, but the implementation will be extremely difficult. The President’s solution is to recruit another batch of the best and brightest from the IT world by calling upon their patriotism and humanity. These selected individuals have achieved prominence in their fields and as a team can slay the dragon of inefficiency and bureaucracy separating the people of the United States of America from their government and its programs. There will be hardships for the chosen employees as they have attained high salaries for their achievements in Silicon Valley and the world of Information technology. We are reminded of the efforts of President John F. Kennedy in recruiting another batch of the best and brightest for his ill-fated administration.
Implementation of the Transformation
President Obama began his efforts by establishing an Office of the United States Digital Services. Then he appointed a Chief Technology Officer and a Chief Data Officer.
Eric Maland, from Amazon and Twitter, joined Lisa Gelobter, an officer at Hulu and BET, along with Todd Park and Mikey Dickerson who worked together to fix the debacle at Healthcare.gov. These four formed the backbone and administration of this enormous undertaking. At present they have assembled 140 employees from the private sector to help to modernize this mess of a government. They have a goal of having 500 employed to reform government and to leave their mark on history. A government that is currently too big and cumbersome to take care of its veterans and fellow citizens does need more employees to streamline its functioning and allow for it to work effectively in the modern world.
Current Members of the Transformation Team
A group photos shows those in attendance to be young, happy, stylish, and thankfully ready to solve the problems of government bloat and red tape. They look like the typical assemblage at the local Starbucks. There are no swaggering sports stars or empty headed beauty queens in this group photo. These are employees who are dedicated to their work. They are single minded and relentless in their struggles toward success. These are not the typical government employees who wait for the hands on the clock to point to quitting time and their suspension from workday drudgery.
A President with a Team and a Goal
If President Obama and this merry staff of dedicated, young, bright workers can solve this prominent problem within government, they will have surpassed the accomplishments of his administration’s greatest achievement in Universal Health Care. It is a necessary and urgent goal whose achievement would be a miracle.
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