Obama calls for “Reinventing Government” 2.0, some say
Obama pledged to “go through the federal budget, line by line, eliminating programs that no longer work and making the ones we do need work better and cost less — because we cannot meet 21st century challenges with a 20th century bureaucracy.”
“A government that works better and costs less” was the slogan of the Clinton administration’s National Performance Review, which sought to overhaul management of the federal bureaucracy. Clinton’s effort involved a months-long audit of agency operations and programs, resulting in hundreds of reform proposals in areas ranging from personnel management to procurement.
David Osborne, one of the architects of the National Performance Review, interpreted Obama’s words as an acknowledgement that it was time to return to the “reinventing government” paradigm of the Clinton years.
Osborne and [John] Kamensky [a senior fellow at the IBM Center for the Business of Government] both serve as members of Obama’s government reform advisory committee. The panel is working on a range of issues, including campaign finance reform, ethics and transparency.
While there were some positive changes, aspects of Reinventing Government during the Clinton administration and other related acquisition reforms laid the groundwork for many of the contracting debacles we’ve seen in the Bush administration, according to POGO (full disclosure: I worked for POGO for four years). See 1999’s Defense Waste & Fraud Camouflaged As Reinventing Government, 2002’s Pick Pocketing the Taxpayer: The Insidious Effects of Acquisition Reform, and 2004’s Federal Contracting and Iraq Reconstruction.