Obama Administration

Obama: Everything the Government Does Is Screwed Up, So Give Me More Power and Responsibility

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Things haven't been going so well for the Obama administration this year. The Justice Department has been caught spying on journalists, the Internal Revenue Service is scrutinizing White House critics, and the National Security Agency is snooping on everybody. Oh, and the president's signature policy, Obamacare, shows every sign of descending even sooner than predicted in bureaucratic catastrophe. So…What does President Obama propose to do?

How about asking for more authority to manage the ever-expanding federal government into perfection? Yeah, really.

From National Journal:

Last month, I wrote a National Journal cover story on Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley, portraying him as the Democratic face of government reform. As a two-term governor, O'Malley argued that he'd shown how to harness the levers of government effectively, allowing him to make the progressive case for a more activist government. Politically speaking, that's becoming a prerequisite for President Obama and the Democratic Party, given the expansion of federal programs amid ample evidence that the government isn't working effectively as it should be.

The latest snafus in the health care law's implementation are merely the latest signs that government isn't working as advertised. The administration delayed the effective date of the employer mandate by a year, and quietly acknowledged that eligibility for the exchanges will initially begin on the honor system. The most generous interpretation of the political targeting that took place at the Internal Revenue Service was that it was a case of "horrible customer service," in the testimony of the scandalized former director Stephen Miller.

So it's no coincidence that Obama himself personally kicked off the White House's "new management agenda" Monday in the State Dining Room, attempting to make the case for more government innovation—at the same time he's calling for more government. "I directed the Cabinet to develop an aggressive management agenda for my second term that delivers a smarter, more innovative, and more accountable government for its citizens," Obama said. His view of redesigned government was also premised on more executive authority, calling on Congress "for the authority to reorganize and consolidate the federal bureaucracy."

The speech conveniently ignored the reality of the bureaucracy's all-too-evident limitations, with the president taking credit for any small signs of improved efficiency under his administration. (He touted a relaunched HealthCare.Gov site, ignoring his administration's inconvenient news that the online verification systems won't be ready in time.) All while pitching a grand vision where entrepreneurs can be enticed to work for the government, helping to fix the myriad challenges. It's similar in many ways to O'Malley's message, but without the track record of results.

In his speech, President Obama also insists that he'll be tapping the private sector for its energy and skills to make his vision happen. "I'm going to be asking more people around the country—more inventors and entrepreneurs and visionaries—to sign up to serve.  We've got to have the brightest minds to help solve our biggest challenges."

Follow-up question: Why would anybody with a decent career outside of government board the president's Asiana flight to federal efficiency?

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  1. The Pres is just covering his tailcone which has broken off several times. Hard landings. Goddam sea walls.

  2. “I directed the Cabinet to develop an aggressive management agenda for my second term that delivers a smarter, more innovative, and more accountable government for its citizens,” Obama said. His view of redesigned government was also premised on more executive authority, calling on Congress “for the authority to reorganize and consolidate the federal bureaucracy.”

    Ye Gods, is there anything higher than TOP. MEN.?

    1. “Ye Gods, is there anything higher than TOP. MEN.?”

      TOP. ?bermensch…

    2. SUMMIT. MEN.

      1. PEAK. RETARD.

  3. Everything the Government Does Is Screwed Up, So Give Them More Power and Responsibility

    That should be the name of this website.

    1. with Sarc tag of course

  4. There’s no problem a statist sees that can’t be fixed with a little more taxpayer dollars.

    1. …And the sole discretion on how it’s funneled to the cronies.

  5. I’m going to be asking more people around the country — more inventors and entrepreneurs and visionaries — to sign up to serve.

    How’s the expression go? Oh yeah:

    Non serviam.

    1. I thought it was ‘going Galt’.

  6. Let me be clear. I have asked more people around the country — more ordinary folks like you and me — to sign up to participate in healthcare reform. I have asked more people around the country — more federal employees — to sign up to watch for potential whistleblowers. Now “I’m going to be asking more people around the country — more inventors and entrepreneurs and visionaries — to sign up to serve.”

    1. I thought they didn’t build that?

  7. Alcohol Government: the cause of, and solution to, all of life’s problems.

  8. “I’m going to be asking more people around the country — more inventors and entrepreneurs and visionaries — to sign up to serve. We’ve got to have the brightest minds to help solve our biggest challenges.

    Leaving aside ideological questions about the government’s competence and whether entrepreneurs would fix its problems, let’s just ask a common sense question here: how in the *hell* would this administration be able to draw “the brightest minds” from business in the first place? This administration has made clear that 1) they don’t like businessmen, 2) they won’t pay the salaries that a CEO in the Fortune 500 would expect, and 3) they don’t tolerate dissent or creativity. B Obama is petty and arrogant; as it so happens many CEOs are also arrogant or at least like being autonomous in their sphere. A speech don’t cut it, Mr Pres — you have to give them a reason to join up, and a reason for them to get past your obvious hostility towards business types.

    Getting jag-offs like Matt Yglesias isn’t difficult; they have little worth on the labor market as is and working the government’s greasy pole is about all they have in the way of talents and abilities. Getting Steve Jobs and productive people on board? Not so much.

    Mitt Romney might have been able to make the case that he would bring entrepreneurs or competent businessmen on board. It is beyond belief to expect the same of a sad-sack lame duck President.

    1. Because anyone who doesn’t play ball may be subject to having the full weight of the federal bureaucracy brought to bear against them, with their financial records thoroughly scrutinized by the IRS, their executives hauled before Congress to explain why they have the audacity to follow the law by paying different tax rates in different places they do business, the NLRB…well, do I need to go on?

      1. That’s a pretty good way to shake down a business, and Obama’s been very successful at shakedowns since his days as a community organizer.

        It’s a terrible way to draw enthusiastic talent from the business world.

        See, there’s a difference between extorting a business and running one. Romney’s problem was that he thought he’d be able to run an extortion racket like he ran businesses.

        Obama’s problem is that he thinks he can run businesses and the economy like he ran extortion rackets.

        Doesn’t work that way.

      2. And the draft sure brought it lots of enthusiastic, hard-working troops.

    2. “…let’s just ask a common sense question here: how in the *hell* would this administration be able to draw “the brightest minds” from business in the first place?”

      Well, any decent businessman knows an extortion racket when he sees it, right? Moreover, the opportunity to play the bootlegger to the progressive baptists might be enticing enough…

      Incidentally, did fascism suddenly stop being corporatist, or do I misunderstand the theory and history of that political system?

      1. Again, you’re mistaking a businessman playing the government for his ends, and actually employing his own talents and labor *for* the government.

        Bill Gates might pay for an army of lobbyists, but there’s no way in hell that he would be stupid enough to take a job as a toothless Undersecretary of Education or somesuch, babysat by someone who’s spent his or her whole life hating people like him.

        1. The distinction you draw, while conceptually valid, doesn’t usually apply: They are both part of the same package.

          You really don’t acknowledge that captains of industry are routinely found in government? How do you think most people even find out about “crony capitalism”?

          1. Among other things, what you usually find are, at best, 2nd Lieutenants of industry. In the case of the Obama administration (unlike the Clinton administration), there are surprisingly few of those, even.

            1. I don’t think I actually disagree with what you *meant* above — you certainly won’t get these individuals to waste their precious time and other resources on “progressive” governance. However, corporatism is real, we have very much arrived there in certain sectors of our economy, and there are individuals who seemingly forgo millions or billions of dollars to be part of the most transparent administration ever. Even if none of them qualify as “captains of industry,” they are extremely productive individuals in the private sector, extremely effective rent seekers in the quasi-private sector, or both. Alas, we have reached the point where it is difficult to tell many of them apart.

              Moreover, Obama’s statement was vague enough to allow for everything that has been discussed, although your question was more narrowly phrased. If you assume a semantic background of progressive idealism for all discussions of government, then you are absolutely right. However, I don’t see why anyone *would* assume that, particularly in this forum…

              1. I guess I’m not clear on what we disagree on, then. There’s quite a large body of people (right and left) who seem to think that government’s problem is that they just don’t have enough folks with practical business experience in government — not in this group of fine folk, but certainly in the population at large. I don’t agree with the premise, but I think it’s hard to argue that with this administration in particular, they are interested in significant input from the private sector unless it absolutely cannot be avoided — and only then, from favored businesses.

                There’s a difference between Franco-style corporatism (where corporations really were calling plenty of shots), and something like Hitler-style fascism (where corporations continue to run at the sufferance of the Leader and don’t have much input in policy).

                I’m just saying that if you are going for the latter, don’t act shocked when morons like Rosenburg are in charge and the folks running IG Farben and Krupp Works have no real input in policy or bureaucracy.

                1. I was merely trying to address how government can and does draw the talented, capable, productive, etc., out of the private sector, namely, by means of carrot and stick. That is what I find so disappointing about much libertarian criticism of the powers that be: “They are all buffoons.” Actually, it is so much worse, because many valuable men and women are corrupted, wasted, and generally spent by the machinations of the state.

                  I see most of this as, first and foremost, a story of rent-seeking and extortion — and I never take anyone’s statements about “good governance” at face value. If you don’t believe that the rent-seeking and extortion are integral to government enlistment of talent, then we fundamentally disagree. Otherwise, I suspect it is a matter of semantics, or perhaps interpretations of what Obama meant, though, said, etc….

                  1. The government is definitely full of *smart* people, but generally speaking not the brightest in society who — for a number of reasons — don’t interact in ways that make them succeed in bureaucracies or political positions.

                    I’m just saying that, however smart people like Valarie Jarrett are (and I agree that libertarians underestimate the intelligence of government actors), she doesn’t have the experience and competence that one gains by working in the private sector — and that experience comes at a premium that B Obama’s administration has demonstrated they have no idea or desire to meet.

                    Since this experience is purportedly what Obama is looking to add to the government (and since it is an idea that appeals to non-libertarians), it’s worthwhile to poke holes in that notion when it pops up.

                    1. I don’t disagree with any of that either, but there are still the elements of corporatism, “crony capitalism,” the revolving door, etc., and that door definitely goes both ways. If they want (more) people with experience, they can and do get them by those means…

                      Perhaps you hold this to be the exception that proves the rule, but the financial sector is so heavily populated with these people that it is practically the popular definition of “crony capitalism.” For all of their folly, the Occupansies had that right.

                      In short, I do believe that the archetypal “George McGovern” politician exists, and is common. However, people like Hank Paulson and Jeffrey Immelt aren’t exactly rare, and even if they aren’t the best, brightest, or most entrepreneurial, they are worth a fortune in the private sector.

    3. Getting jag-offs like Matt Yglesias isn’t difficult; they have little worth on the labor market as is and working the government’s greasy pole is about all they have in the way of talents and abilities. Getting Steve Jobs and productive people on board? Not so much.

      Wait, now. Totally our fault for opposing gun control. If he could have had his way, he would have all the guns, and from that vantage point, made all of those successful business men do his bidding. Except for us bitter clingers, it would have worked.

      1. Heh, good point. Even then, that’s a clear master-slave relationship, not a situation where the businessmen are actually providing input into how to improve government.

    4. [H]ow in the *hell* would this administration be able to draw “the brightest minds” from business in the first place? This administration has made clear that 1) they don’t like businessmen, 2) they won’t pay the salaries that a CEO in the Fortune 500 would expect, and 3) they don’t tolerate dissent or creativity.

      This whole line is just a line. The Big O doesn’t expect to recruit one single man from the private sector. It’s his out. As in, “Let me be clear: I tried to fix government and recruit the best and brightest minds, but those in the private sector thwarted my every effort.”

      1. Exactly so. His entire administration is made up of hanger-ons and career bureaucrats who loathe business without having spent a econd understanding or working in that world. Why would he start hiring businessmen at this late hour?

    5. “A speech don’t cut it, Mr Pres — you have to give them a reason to join up, and a reason for them to get past your obvious hostility towards business types.”

      I vaguely recall during his first term being speechless hearing him saying something along these lines. Basically he called for smart productive people to donate time/money/effort with no incentive at all, just because they are duty bound to do so.

      He gave a similar speech calling for businesses to hire people for the sole purpose of bringing down unemployment.

      Marxist to the bone.

      1. I read back up. TIT summed up Obama’s attitude towards the citizenry much better. Master-Slave relationship.

      2. As a philosophy instructor and friend of mine often says, “That isn’t even good Marxism!”

  9. More power? Certainly.

    More responsibility? No, not really.

    1. But he only hits us because he loves us so much and wants us to be our very best!

    2. You say that as if any of them carry any responsibility anyways. Not a single person in this administration has had to bear responsibility for their actions. Obamacare is a clusterfuck. Fast and Furious. Libya. Benghazi. On and on, and not a single person has faced the music. I know 6 year olds that face more consequences than these fucking clowns.

      1. “Elections have consequences!”

  10. He touted a relaunched HealthCare.Gov

    Good god really? They relaunched a redesigned website? Wow.

    1. we’re taking your questions using the hashtag #HCgovHangout.

      And apparently you can ask your questions in Chinese, French, French Creole, German, Gujarati, Hindi, Korean, Polish, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish, Tagalog, or Vietnamese!

  11. If only we can get some talented private-sector folk to stand in the bucket, surely THEY can lift it up by the bale.

    1. “Fucking bootstraps, how do they work?”

    2. “First we all jump at the same time, then lift once we’re up!”

  12. All while pitching a grand vision where entrepreneurs can be enticed to work for the government, helping to fix the myriad challenges. It’s similar in many ways to O’Malley’s message, but without the track record of results.

    Is there an alternative planet where O’Malley isn’t a total fuck up?

    1. I am completely baffled as to why people think that O’Malley is a good candidate, other than the typical bias of Beltway types being familiar with the VA and MD governors and thus continually touting them as prez contenders (when they are not.)

  13. “We’ve got to have the brightest minds to help solve our biggest challenges.”

    Because the current system of career civil servants in a permanent bureaucracy overseen by a combination of political hacks, campaign donation bundlers, and yes men has some features, I mean bugs, that do not produce the results taxpayers might want.

    1. “We’ve got to have the brightest minds to help solve our biggest challenges.”

      Christ, that line sounds like it was ripped off from a kids TV show. And this is supposed to be one of the smartest guys in the country.

  14. I’m starting to think Obama’s not such a great guy after all.

    1. I laughed.

  15. President Barry thinks he’s Napoleon–he’s putting the crown on his own head.

    What a power-mad freak-of-nature. The guy’s not merely garbage–he’s a landfill.

  16. And I’m going to be asking more people around the country — more inventors and entrepreneurs and visionaries — to sign up to serve. We’ve got to have the brightest minds to help solve our biggest challenges.

    Yeah, let’s take the inventors and entrepreneurs out of private industry and put them in government, where their talents will go wasted. That’s sure to turn things around. Fucking brilliant.

    And it’s a reminder that in this democracy, we the people recognize that this government belongs to us, and it’s up to each of us and every one of us to make it work better.

    That’s rich, coming from somebody who has done everything possible to hide the government’s inner workings from its “owners.”

    We can’t just stand on the sidelines. We can’t take comfort in just being cynical. We all have a stake in government success — because the government is us.

    No it isn’t, asshole. No. It. Isn’t.

    1. We can’t just stand on the sidelines. We can’t take comfort in just being cynical. We all have a stake in government success — because the government is us.

      I’m an optimist, Barry. I’m optimistic whatever you can accomplish by force, people can do better, much, much better, voluntarily.

    2. because the government is us

      If there is a slogan that is both as annoying and dangerous as this one, I can’t think of it. People actually buy in to this shit, and then blame people who are less sure that nameless career bureaucrats and unaccountable pols are actually in the business of representing the will of the people when government fails t bring about utopia. Nothing about this government is me. Nothing. And the implication that I have anything to do with what this government does makes me want to puke.

      1. This is one of the rare instances where I get to honesty, forthrightly, and indignantly argue that something someone said is “un-American.” In fact, that is just about the least American idea I can think of, outside of Rousseauist nonsense about… oh, wait.

    3. We all have a stake in government success — because the government is us.

      It’s an obvious ploy to discredit Snowden, which is the whole goddamned point of the speech in the first place.

      But if his ploy creates MORE whistleblowers it would be worth it. But I’d rather not waste the money to find out.

  17. In his speech, President Obama also insists that he’ll be tapping the private sector for its energy and skills to make his vision happen

    I thought that hiring industry people as advisers was also referred to as ‘tapping the private sector for it’s energy and skills’, but was sworn off by Obama until he started flooding the process with waivers.

    This has me very confused.

    At least in Clinton’s term, ‘tapping the private sector’ meant something much more pedestrian.

    1. Would you have tapped that?

    2. That would be “tapping the privates sector”.

  18. You help 1000 special ed kids, do they call you an educator? No. But you fuck one dog.

    1. Whoops. This is not the PM Links.

      1. ‘Whoops’, I bet that is what she said too.

  19. “because the government is us”

    I seem to remember during the Democrat’s convention lots of obamabots claiming that we belong to the government, that the government literally owns us.

    So which is it you two-bit, banana republic shitweasel?

    1. The government is us, and we own ourselves (self ownership). Therefore the government owns us. /prog-derp

  20. “I’m going to be asking more people around the country — more inventors and entrepreneurs and visionaries — to sign up to serve. We’ve got to have the brightest minds to help solve our biggest challenges.”

    “We’re sorry Mr. President, but we’re too busy actually doing productive things, like providing customers with products and services they like and want, to help you stop shooting yourself in the dick. Pass.”

  21. Statists gonna State

  22. Follow-up answer: Ego, power, and more money

  23. The basic problem is that what WORKS in the government is considered a FAILURE in the private sector. And what WORKS in the private sector is considered a FAILURE in government.

    In other words: SOLYNDRA, you excrement!

  24. Where they come up with that stuff?

    http://www.Privacy-Planet.com

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