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Published in News and Citizen 7-1-14

Maybe They Should
Micromanage for a Time

     Since the Gallup pollster has announced that only 7% of us have confidence in Congress, we might ask if senators and representatives have a plan to boost that figure. If they don’t think they need a plan; they better think again. Since it is quite apparent they are living in their own bubble; I will tell them they actually need to hire cheerleaders! How long will you elect a guy or a gal you simply don’t trust? How long can we all complain we don’t trust Congress, but the three guys we vote for are all right? We are fooling ourselves here and we have good company – all of America, all 50 states.
     No one can deny that there is a lot of “dead wood” in government programs. Some accomplish little if any of their missions. For many the initial missions themselves are questionable. If nothing else, many programs have and can qualify for a Golden Fleece award for waste. But what do we see happening? If a program comes negatively into the public eye, the daylighted problems are often downplayed, sometimes far too much is made of it, sometimes money is thrown at it. Eventually, the hoo-hah dies down and it is business as usual. Don’t believe me take a look at the history of Head Start, and it is a program that an internal government agency has stated to have failed in its many decade existence. Yet, it’s still a “Go.” You would think it had succeeded as brilliantly as the space program in getting to the Moon.
     Let’s take the Veterans Administration scandal that is currently boiling. If  action in Washington, DC, is politically gridlocked, why don’t our hands-tied representatives find the time to look into how effectively their local constituency is being serviced? Are local VA facilities doing a good job? Or are they just giving themselves accolades? How much have they spent on redecorating around here (check out the stats on that nationally)? Isn’t that why congressman have staffs? Or do they only do work that directly keeps the official in office? Are the staffs working for us, the public, any more than the politico? If they can’t do the legwork, let them help journalists get the dirt.
    The way I see things, considering the lack of substantive legislation, our people in Washington should spend personal and staff time assuring we get a little more of what we pay for – and pay for – and pay for.
     They might copy the folks at the top of the Gallup poll – the medical system – and see if old and new laws follow the “First do no harm” dictum!