The process of government funding, whether it be how the funding is allotted or how the money is managed, can be changed for the better by instituting “good sense” policies. Our current advisors and analysts have many ideas about reforming the management of government funding; however, most of these ideas are a hapless attempt at “fixing” a strange and confusing aristocratic process that needs a major overhaul. The way of thinking used by these analysts is archaic; to create a better system of funding allotment and management, we can not use the old format to base our reform. If we were to go to the source of the mismanagement instead of trying to initiate a “quick fix,” our reform efforts would be ensured a fresh look and have a better chance of quelling the fears of the American public.
The bureaucracy that we use now and have used in the past does not use “good sense” techniques; our focus needs to be on the source of the problem. We need to stop the “big-wigs” like Michael Levitt from using expensive funding for his own personal agenda (Ingersoll). His use of the GulfStream3 has prompted little attention from our elected officials, so our next move should be to make our voices heard. There have been many protests in the past, and the causes for most of the movements were well justified. Reforming the process of government funding and allocation is also justified, and while it may sound a bit blasé, it will have a definite impact on our future.
The public needs to make a pre-emptive strike to stop this politically incorrect problem and take politics out of the game completely. Our government and elected officials need a wake-up call on several issues. Anyone can argue about the issues, but it takes passion to make the evolution of our great society proceed smoothly and eloquently toward a greater good for all mankind. “As a Congressional committee heard testimony last week that billions of Iraqi dollars — held in trust by the U.S. government — still cannot be accounted for, the inspector general charged with tracking the funds said he has referred three contractors to the Justice Department for possible criminal prosecutions for fraud” (Fisher). If our government is mismanaging other countries’ funds, what is that saying to the American public? This is only one of the many instances that must be brought to the attention of the American public. “When the budget is looked at as a whole, the programs least likely to yield a return on our investment – interest on the national debt ($243.7 billion), Social Security ($586.1 billion), Medicare ($394.5 billion), Medicaid ($276.4 billion) and unemployment/welfare ($367.0 billion) – take up 67 percent, or nearly $1.9 trillion, of our nation’s $2.8 trillion budget. Meanwhile, the programs most likely to yield a return for future generations – education and training ($89.9 billion), natural resources and environment ($33.1 billion) and science/technology ($25.0 billion) account for only $148 billion or barely 5 percent of the federal budget” (Oehlert).
How can we inform the American taxpayers that their hard-earned money is not being utilized as well as it could be? There are all kinds of blogs and internet sources of people talking about mismanagement, and some have new ideas; those may help to inform the public, but it does not solve any problems. So maybe the effort of reform is not getting the public’s attention, but rather getting them to want to be involved in the process and not just to complain that they are unhappy. Our elected officials say that they want to change and reform our government policies on several topics but rarely make any headway. In fact, I understand voting to be a sacred right bestowed upon us by our national government; we should take the initiative to take our reform plans out of the government’s hands and place it into the voter’s direct control. The voters, not a bunch of politicians who harbor ulterior motives and associate with special interest groups, would then have to provide a specific plan of reform for the allocation and funding processes. After an adequate amount of time, all the proposals would then be written in an understandable way and distributed to all voters via the United States Postal Service-that would be an acceptable amount of governmental intervention. All voters would pick the top five proposals, and mail it back. The proposals with the most picks will then be written up and mailed; the voters then would pick the one proposal that they think will work best, and mail it back. The purpose of numerous mailings is to ensure that everyone gets their voice heard, not just translated by their elected official.
It would be important for the voters to provide their own proposal to fix the current allocation and funding system; the system of our politicians bringing to the table their own ideas does not involve the voters. Who will be affected by the changes the most? Who should be involved in the change of their future? The voters are the most important and integral part of what needs to be done, and that is to correct the many years of oversights and spending due to mismanagement and immoral people in positions of power. Another way of getting the public involved is to make our elected officials work for their positions. The local elected would host public conventions and brainstorming sessions to provide the voters with the action of getting their voices heard. Everyone who attends would need to “sign in” if they wanted to submit ideas about the reform and betterment of the allocation and funding processes. There would have to be several “starter” conventions to allow everyone to voice an opinion or submit a plan; after enough time to get all the voters’ input, the local officials would have a run through a meeting of the ideas and have those who attend the vote on the top five or ten. There would be a need for more meetings, again, so that everyone has voiced their concerns and pick a plan that would best suit their needs and the needs of the public, not just of those who have voting rights. The platforms for enabling the voters to be involved much more than the old ways have been thought through very carefully and would have a definite impact that may create a change in all processes in which the public feels left out. These platforms of reform and change are only two ways of getting the public involved in their futures. I am sure that I am not the only one who feels strongly about getting involved in my government and changing things for the better; the American voters should be tired of the government deciding our present and future without proper representation of the public. Sure, we “elect” our representatives, but sometimes our selection is thin and we feel that we are not properly spoken for in the process of government.
“The federal budget process is a curious phenomenon in that it usually takes money from the most productive segments of the economy and applies that money to the least productive sectors. As a result, the divisions of the federal budget from which we are least likely to get a return end up being the sectors that soak up the most federal money. The fiscal year 2007 U.S. Federal Budget is an excellent example of this. The Bush administration is touting it as the least wasteful budget in years, but careful analysis of the budget reveals it to be more of the same wasteful spending, from which we can be relatively assured we will receive little to no return on” (Oehlert). Mr. Oehlert has an excellent grasp of our current crisis, and if the voters could have the same passion, we could be on our way to saving the huge amounts of wasted money in which our government allocates so carefully. He also talks of most of the mismanaged funds as going to public services that give very little, if any, return. This is an important realization that needs to have more public attention. Our government is funding one service, while if the appropriated funds were for a more self-lucrative service, two problems would be tackled at the same time. Oehlert’s ideas are a fresh look at the symptoms of a flailing economy and the main culprit of our situation. Oehlert’s ideas have been around for generations; many others after him will write the same ideas and thoughts, and if not properly made known, will not flourish and bring change.
Let us make a stand now, and take action against a common enemy: corruption. The objectives of government are pivotal to understanding the diverse negative effects of corruption on public welfare. Corruption renders governments unable or unwilling to maximize welfare. It distorts agents’ decisions and limits the contractual space available to agents and the government, acting as a generous principle. A corrupt principal creates allocation inefficiencies, cripples its credible commitment to effective policies, and opens the door to opportunism. Our beleaguered government has no way to regulate how many billions of dollars the oil companies rake in every year, not that they would want to go down that road. Again, the government is allowing its public to be crushed by sky-rocketing oil prices because its legislation is not getting passed to effectively deny big business to do as they please, as long as they get a hefty bottom line. What is a hefty bottom line if your way of doing business eventually takes you down? Would it not be obvious to lower prices to give consumers a break so that the oil cartel inevitably would go bankrupt when ethanol kicks into high gear? “Traditional, deposit-taking banks have been regulated since the 1930s because the experience of the Great Depression showed how bank failures can threaten the whole economy. Supposedly, however, “non-depository” institutions like Bear didn’t have to be regulated, because “market discipline” would ensure that they were run responsibly. When push came to shove, however, the Federal Reserve didn’t dare let market discipline run its course. Instead, it rushed to Bear’s rescue, risking billions of taxpayer dollars, because it feared that the collapse of a major financial institution would endanger the financial system as a whole”(Krugman).
The opportunity for reform is right in front of us. We not only have to think about ourselves in the present but also our future as a country and as a society. Our great democracy has lasted for over 200 years, and our current situation has not begun to test what our ancestors went through to provide the freedom and prosperity that we enjoy today. How can we be ignorant to the constant barrage of information and startling evidence of mismanaged funds? “Al Gore has put forward a strong, pro-growth framework which includes bold steps for education, research and savings, and working-family tax cuts, said Gene Sperling, the White House economic policy director, who is advising the Gore campaign. Mr. Gore’s approach ‘not only continues the path toward making America debt-free but even includes a $300 billion surplus reserve to ensure we get there even if unexpected emergencies or contingencies occur,’ Mr. Sperling said” (Stevenson). If Al Gore can put forth his ideas and beliefs to benefit mankind, how hard would it be to come up with some ideas of our own? All we have to do is stand up for our rights and demand that changes for the better must be made. If this paper will at least convince one person to check on this issue, it will have made the world a better place and give hope to our kids.