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« "For better or worse, Tressel fits the mold of a university president" | Main | "Have Kyoto Sanga scored the most bewildering free-kick ever?" »

May 29, 2014

"Why Obama Can't Fix the VA"

Simply not to be missed. In the private sector, failing organizations often either 1) fire a lot of people or 2) go our of business altogether. So what does the federal government do?

But the inability to make this kind of radical change does hamper would-be government reformers. So does the way that our government now functions after decade upon decade of prior reform: which is to say, it prioritizes processes, which can be measured, over outcomes, which often can’t be; rules over discretion; and rights over trade-offs.

Related: "VA Health Care: The Problems with Government Agencies," "Why we should privatize the VA," and the very discouraging "Krauthammer: Chances of Democrats Learning Lesson from VA Scandal Are 'Zero'".

Comments

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ErisGuy

From the article: his prolonged hubris about how much a really smart, caring president could change the way government operates

The only part of that quote that is true is that Obama suffers from hubris and is the president. There is no evidence he cares about anything except himself and no compelling evidence he is smarter than an average pol, or Biden.

David Foster

Megan is of course correct that it is far easier to change culture and improve performance in private rather than government organizations; still, even in government there is no excuse for the kind of things that have been going on at the VA.

Thought experiment: What if someone like General Bernard Schriever, the man who ran USAF missile programs in the early Cold War, has been in charge of the VA?

http://chicagoboyz.net/archives/24503.html

Also, what if government employees who commit measurement fraud to increase their bonuses were prosecuted as severely as corporate executives who commit accounting fraud for the same purpose?

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