Senator Tom Coburn, (R)-Oklahoma, appeared on Fox News Sunday with Chris Wallace this past weekend. He delivered a sobering assessment of the Federal debt and its future impact (absent getting it under control) in the midst of my Happy Holidaying.
“What does this have to do with content and systems management?” one may well ask. Well, let’s consider:
Coburn gave an encapsulated and articulate description of Federal redundancies and waste which some believe, if left unchecked, will lead to 15 to 18% unemployment, hyper-inflation, debilitating effect on GDP, and destruction of the middle class. Heck, is that all? Gimme another stimulus…
Seriously, consider that the Feds harbor 267 job training programs across 39 different agencies – why? Talk about compartmentalized and silo’d…
There are 105 programs, 105, to encourage people to go into science, technology, engineering and math. In Coburn’s view, “That’s 105 sets of bureaucrats; none of them have metrics on them.” So… if we take him at his word, there are no empirical measures to determine if some, one, or any of these programs are making effective use of resources?
As to another area of waste, there is 100 billion dollars (maybe more) of fraud in Medicare and Medicaid. As Coburn says, “That’s money that’s just being blown away.”
He continues, “The Pentagon can’t even audit its own books. It doesn’t even know where its money is going. And we refuse to have the tough forces go on the Pentagon so at least they’re efficient with the money they’re spending.”
Coburn says there is approximately 350 billion dollars that can be eliminated from the budget that will not truly impact anybody in the country.
But in my own view, any elimination of waste, fraud, and abuse is only going to come from an accurate accounting. Before there can be any political rendering, and any resulting pragmatic, empirical, meritorious action that delivers to real-world realities… we have to know where we are.
Only generally do we know where we are: We know there’s waste; we know there’s fraud; we know there’s redundancies, wasted effort, duplicated effort, efforts that work at cross-purposes, and money pouring down a drain. But we have to survey, expose and manage according to a coherent, comprehensive and trusted system of accountability, as it delivers real data from systems’ content.
Of course, it’s the big entitlement programs (Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, and various stimuluses) that are the largest drivers of the deficit and resultant debt. We’re not going to get into that, being that this isn’t a political column. But frankly, I think every little bit counts, even if only for the discipline and practice of being austere, frugal and fiscally responsible.
The Federal Government really, really, needs better content and systems management – now. The expanding Federal Debt will yield what some describe as “apocalyptic pain” in a few years’ time – if we don’t act soon.
The time is now. It’s the right thing to do.
NP: Miles Davis, Kind of Blue – Legacy Edition. (On CD, yes, but I’ll be listening to some jazz on original Vanguard LP a bit later… rest assured.