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I heard it put recently, the argument shouldn't be about whether we need Bigger Government or Smaller Government, as it is too often framed by those in Congress

-- but whether we can somehow achieve Smarter Government?

Hmmm?  THAT is a nice frame, isn't it?

So much so that even Mitt Romney is staking a claim to the new thought bubble:

Romney: Government Isn't the Hero

by Tom Shoop, -- May 15, 2012

[... Mitt Romney: ]
My point is this: as President Obama and old-school liberals absorb more and more of our economy into government, they make what we do more expensive, less efficient, and less useful. They make America less competitive. They make government more expensive.

What President Obama is doing is not bold; it's old.

As president, I will make the federal government simpler, smaller, smarter – and, by the way, more in keeping with the vision of the Framers of our Constitution.

I didn't say he was staking a well-reasoned claim to the topic, lol.

This got my thinking, What is President Obama doing to make Government "smarter" ... ?

Well this was among the more recent "smart government" news (as per those always-searching, Google search-algorithms).

Not exactly what I was expecting, but interesting nonetheless ...

White House launches new digital government strategy

by Alex Howard, -- May 23, 2012

Today, President Obama issued a presidential memorandum on building a 21st century digital government.

[... Barack Obama: ]

On April 27, 2011, I issued Executive Order 13571 (Streamlining Service Delivery and Improving Customer Service), requiring executive departments and agencies to, among other things, identify ways to use innovative technologies to streamline their delivery of services to lower costs, decrease service delivery times, and improve the customer experience. As the next step toward modernizing the way Government works, I charged my Federal Chief Information Officer (CIO) with developing a comprehensive Government-wide strategy to build a 21st century digital Government that delivers better digital services to the American people.

Today, the CIO is releasing that strategy, entitled "Digital Government: Building a 21st Century Platform to Better Serve the American People" (Strategy), which provides agencies with a 12-month roadmap that focuses on several priority areas.The Strategy will enable more efficient and coordinated digital service delivery by requiring agencies to establish specific, measurable goals for delivering better digital services; encouraging agencies to deliver information in new ways that fully utilize the power and potential of mobile and web-based technologies; ensuring the safe and secure delivery and use of digital services to protect information and privacy; requiring agencies to establish central online resources for outside developers and to adopt new standards for making applicable Government information open and machine-readable by default;

Ultimately, this Strategy will ensure that agencies use emerging technologies to serve the public as effectively as possible. As a Government, and as a trusted provider of services, we must never forget who our customers are -- the American people.


How will government become more data-centric?

[Federal CIO Steven] VanRoekel:  Yesterday was the three-year anniversary of It was an important first step to raise the awareness of people around data. It largely was a bulk upload, bulk download system. It didn't manifest in data being digital by default through the entire lifecycle of that data. It was sort of an add-on, to take the step of getting it to The key difference in what we're doing here and evolving -- which will be involved, as part of this -- is architecting data for openness.

As you remember from the Open Government Directive, where we directed all agencies to create a "/open" page. Part of this deliverable will be all agencies creating a "/developer" page, to start to build the catalog of citizen-accessible web APIs for their systems.

Well that seems a bit ambitious given what I've seen of government computer systems (from the inside) -- but hey, it's important to set "ambitious goals" if you ever expect to get anywhere, I always say.

And that last link, is not short on ambition.  It's kind of Al-Gorish in a 'smart' sort of way ... Release the inter-tubes!

SO what say you?

Do we need Bigger Government or Smaller Government ... or just plain Smarter Government?

And how would you go about making Government achieve your very "ambitious goals"?

... that would hopefully help to make Government work -- for the interests of the governed?

Release the 21st-century discussions ...

Originally posted to Digging up those Facts ... for over 8 years. on Sat May 26, 2012 at 07:17 PM PDT.

Also republished by Political Language and Messaging.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (7+ / 0-)

    What is necessary to change a person is to change his awareness of himself.
    -- Maslow ...... my list.

    by jamess on Sat May 26, 2012 at 07:17:23 PM PDT

  •  Since Government and the Country -- and the Rest (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    jamess, commonmass, James Kroeger

    of the advanced democracies-- were all better off some decades ago, I think we need serious consideration for tabling the forward direction we've been looking for a long time and not reopen that question till we're back to the best we've all been.

    We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

    by Gooserock on Sat May 26, 2012 at 07:30:30 PM PDT

  •  I like the framing (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    jamess, Shockwave, commonmass

    "Smarter Government " absolutely deflects the big-small argument because the presumption is now that big = stupid.  Big and smart offers economies of scale that even small and smart can't achieve.

    hence, tipped, rec'd and republished.

    -7.75, -8.10; We are all Wisconsin

    by Dave in Northridge on Sat May 26, 2012 at 08:03:33 PM PDT

  •  Right now we need Bigger Government... (4+ / 0-)

    ...much bigger.  Due to the efforts of Republicans and Centrist Democrats, The Government is much smaller than it needs to be just to pull this economy out of the Great Recession.

    Ultimately, there isn't any kind of 'ideal size' for government; it really depends upon productivity improvements in the private sector.  As those advances in productivity become incorporated into private enterprises, it frees up labor that the government can then use to produce Public Wealth.

    Ideally you want to have as much Government as you can arrange for, as much as the Private Sector can make possible (make affordable in terms of opportunity cost), because governments run morally/responsibly/competently can create vast improvements in the standard of living of all citizens.

    Thankfully, the continuing improvements in productivity in the private sector mean that the size of government that we can 'afford' is always increasing, increasing the total scale of its wealth-producing efforts.

    (All of this assumes that we can keep the Republicans and Libertarians out of elective office...)

    •  good reasoning (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      palantir, Shockwave, commonmass

      especially if you accept the premise,

      that we NEED Government to do the things,

      that the Private Sector can't, or won't do.

      like water pipelines, roads, bridges, schools, airports, parks, internets, post office, national defense, etc, etc

      thanks James Kroeger, for those thoughts.

      What is necessary to change a person is to change his awareness of himself.
      -- Maslow ...... my list.

      by jamess on Sat May 26, 2012 at 08:16:41 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  like (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Shockwave, commonmass

        Public Libraries,

        like Public Universities,

        like Public law enforcement,

        like Government Regulation


        What is necessary to change a person is to change his awareness of himself.
        -- Maslow ...... my list.

        by jamess on Sat May 26, 2012 at 08:20:53 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Oh, the private sector can do almost anything.... (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        ...if you wanted to accept the poorer quality of service that it could/would provide.  For example, we could have private police forces.  Only, the next time you call 911, they'd first ask you who you have your police coverage with, what level of protection you signed up for, and then find out if you are current in your payments.

        Privately-owned roads could be provided, only we'd face the inconvenience of toll booths every couple of miles.  We could also have private armies, only in order to achieve 'market efficiencies' we'd need competing armies, and who's to say that one of them wouldn't just, you know, take over the country?

        Governments are able to provide a higher quality of service that private, competitive markets just aren't able to provide.  From an essay on my website:

        These examples show us that the quality-of-product that we seek when we ask the government to provide certain services is a special level of security and convenience that can be enjoyed only when universal coverage is provided as a “right of citizenship.”  The private sector can produce a cheaper alternative that costs society less, but that cheaper cost can only be had if you are willing to accept an inferior level of quality.  The great mystery of our day is why the citizens of wealthy, economically advanced nations settle for austerity-level services when they don't need to?
        We all understand that a premium must be paid if you want to enjoy higher quality services within the private sector.  Poorer folks don't experience the higher quality services because they can't afford them, but wealthier families pay the higher cost for higher quality...well, because they can.

        We all understand that only an idiot would choose a cheaper service when he can very well afford the higher-quality option.  What people seem to forget is that government-provided services are often more costly because that extra cost is what's necessary in order to provide the higher level of quality of service.

        (The great exception to this rule is health care, where insurance companies driven by the profit motive have made the cost of health care in America double that which Britain's socialized medicine system costs the Brits, in spite of achieving essentially the same health outcomes, according to standard measurements of health.)

        In America, we can afford the higher quality approach to providing key services (like socialized medicine and socialized banking services) why aren't we buying them like a smart rich country should?

  •  This is what Clinton was pushing when he was (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    jamess, commonmass

    President. In fact, that's the title of his last book.

  •  Look at this woman: 1920-2011 (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    She's the one on the left. Heheh.

    We miss her very much, but she had great things to say about depressions, including the one she lived through back in the thirties.

    Government can actually help us. FDR made that happen. LBJ made that happen.

    The next guy that tells me government is bad I'll punch in the eye. Because I benefited from Head Start, thanks to LBJ and Richard Nixon.

    Santorum: Man on Dog; Romney: Dog on Car. Ren and Stimpy: Dog on Cat

    by commonmass on Sat May 26, 2012 at 09:11:06 PM PDT

    •  Govt is here (0+ / 0-)

      to "insure the general welfare" ...

      and since FDR, to be a safety net of last resort.

      thx commonmass, I know what you mean about those Great Depression stories.  (my grandpa, used tell me them.)

      if only we didn't have keep relearning those hard lessons.

      What is necessary to change a person is to change his awareness of himself.
      -- Maslow ...... my list.

      by jamess on Sat May 26, 2012 at 09:32:25 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Speaking of Richard Nixon, I got a free school (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    lunch because of that. I was POOR. He was a REPUBLICAN.

    Santorum: Man on Dog; Romney: Dog on Car. Ren and Stimpy: Dog on Cat

    by commonmass on Sat May 26, 2012 at 09:14:08 PM PDT

  •  When there are many people, popular (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    government is large.  When there are few, it is small. Essentially, we organize government to deal with disutilities (things we don't like) and to do so by taking advantage of economies of scale. A squad of well-equipped firemen is more effective and able to respond more timely than individual householders keeping fire extinguishers at home. Insurance, btw, does nothing to prevent fires or put them out. Indeed, the prospect of getting paid off for something one no longer wants (an empty warehouse?) tempts many a property owner to set a blaze.
    I like to say we organize governments to deal with the seven 'i's:


    People to Wall Street: "LET OUR MONEY GO"

    by hannah on Sun May 27, 2012 at 02:33:20 AM PDT

  •  Smarter Government (0+ / 0-)

    Smart government starts by dealing with long term problems.

    It should ramp up investment in renewables, and help motorists say goodbye to high gas prices by making electric cars and hybrids available to people on low and middle incomes.

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