Plan to save America from financial destruction
Some conspiracy theorists say that the debt panic is intended to scare government and the American people into a more conservative government enterprise performance model (my words). If that is what it takes, scare tactics, then so be it. There are a number of ways to address the need to make systemic changes and improvements in the American system that includes 1) government systems, 2) economic model, 3) national defense (subset of government systems).
First, the president’s National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform represents an earnest and essential initiative that should have begun the first day President Obama entered office. That way, Congress and the President would have more sound advice guiding their legislative and policy agenda. I said as much in my book, Smart Data, Enterprise Performance Optimization Strategy published by Wiley this year.
As my former business partner Daniel S. Appleton advocates, in part, government is all about getting high return on cost. That is a nice phrase, but what is the process for doing this? That is what I describe in detail in Smart Data.
The foundation of the American system of government is sound: The Constitution and Bill of Rights.
Over 220 years have passed and we have a government that is intended to be renewed by the passing of laws and regulations that reflect current and anticipated needs. The world is vastly more complex today than when the nation was founded. America has been on an accelerated schedule of growth and prosperity and has reached a point where, may be some time ago, when it outstripped its ability to manage.
To this day, there is no Government Performance Optimization System; there is no executive control panel for managing the vast bureaucracy. While we have computer technology, just like in many corporations, it grew from scratch into a monolithic legacy of systems that are entropic and lethargic.
Using the financial crisis to call time out is appropriate and essential. Yet, the task requires more than what a Presidential Commission can accomplish on midterm break while the President is on world tour. The initiative to reengineer the American system, to readdress critical priorities that include attending social needs and military defense and homeland security needs, requires extreme focus and attention by America’s best talent.
The process begins by identifying critical measurable outcomes addressing constitutionally fundamental needs. It requires auditing the performance of current systems and the organizations and technologies enabling them. We have a management approach for accomplishing this that must be deployed in an objective manner as we know bureaucracy will seek self-preservation at the expense of desired and required outcomes.
In my judgment, American government, including defense and homeland security can be reduced by 30% while productivity can be increased by as much. That is a reasonable goal to achieve in a period of five years. That should be the top priority and I will be writing about it until the cows come home and eagles roost.
“By Dylan Matthews
The co-chair's of the president's National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform have released their policy recommendations yesterday: http://bit.ly/bSwmQT
A breakdown of the plan's proposed spending changes: http://on.wsj.com/9LUIYZ
The plan attacks many popular benefits, and is finding a lukewarm reception in Congress, reports Lori Montgomery: "The blueprint drafted by former Clinton White House chief of staff Erskine Bowles and former senator Alan K. Simpson (R-Wyo.) would slice more than $3.8 trillion from deficits over the next decade, reversing a rapid run-up in the national debt that many fear has the country headed for crisis. Bowles and Simpson are proposing to slay a herd of sacred cows, including the tax deduction for mortgage interest claimed by many homeowners, the tax-free treatment of employer-provided health insurance and the practice of letting retirees claim Social Security benefits starting at age 62. The blueprint would raise the early retirement age to 64 and the standard retirement age to 69 for today's toddlers."
"The reaction was harsh in some quarters, particularly among liberals who have vowed to protect retirees from any reduction in benefits. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) called the plan 'simply unacceptable.' Speaker-in-waiting John A. Boehner (R-Ohio) declined to comment, saying he would discuss the plan with his three representatives on the panel. But Republican anti-tax activist Grover Norquist was not happy and warned that Republicans who support the proposal would be breaking their pledge not to raise taxes. The White House, meanwhile, was noncommital, calling the plan 'only a step in the process toward coming up with a set of recommendations.'" The commission also backs a public option for health insurance: http://on.wsj.com/9cmVwwZ
The recommendations have no legal force, explains Annie Lowrey: http://slate.me/a07N7S
The plan is bold and credible, writes Howard Gleckman: "My favorite idea is zero-based tax reform. Start by eliminating all tax expenditures and sharply lowering rates to 8, 14, and 23 percent. Then, force Congress to raise rates should it choose to restore specific targeted tax subsidies. This strategy, in some respects, echoes the experience of the 1986 tax reform. To be candid, this proposal is so provocative it almost seems as if Bowles and Simpson realize they have no chance of building consensus on their own commission. As a result, they may have decided to take their best shot now rather than watch their plan get nibbled to death. If so, it may not have been a bad idea. The fiscal panel may fade away in shame, but I have a feeling this plan may live on."
But it doesn't break the political deadlock the commission was created to solve, writes Ezra Klein: http://wapo.st/9l1NH9”