Why Does The Government Suck?

Because Bush didn’t by new computers!

A big reason why the government is inefficient and ineffective is because Washington has outdated technology, with federal workers having better computers at home than in the office.

This startling admission came Thursday from Peter Orszag, who manages the federal bureaucracy for President Barack Obama.

The public is getting a bad return on its tax dollars because government workers are operating with outdated technologies, Orszag said in a statement that kicked off a summit between Obama and dozens of corporate CEOs.

I’m sure that pouring billions of dollars into buying new “technologies” would greatly improve the efficiency of government workers at some of the tasks they assign to themselves, that’s for sure.

The problem with our government isn’t the tools they have.

12 Responses to “Why Does The Government Suck?”

  1. ricki says:

    Oh good lord. If an asteroid were to hit the earth, it would somehow be Bush’s fault.

    It’s almost like Family Circus, except instead of the little ghost running around with “Not Me” printed on him (As in: “Who broke this?” “Not me!”), there’s a little ghost running around the current administration that has “Bush Diddit” printed on it.

  2. Cullen says:

    I don’t agree with the central thesis of the argument, but the report’s general analysis is on point. It stretches back to the very earliest days of federal beureaucracy though. We’ve created a culture where lowest bidders win contracts and ONLY provide the services written therein and not one jot more.

    So, many years down the road your are face with many IT systems and no centralization. I work for Navy Personnel Command. I cannot tell you how many systems we have that collect the same data for different reasons. Instead of having one central database that feeds different sources, we have a bunch of different databases at different sources that all do things differently and don’t and can’t talk to each other.

    Here’s something I find startling. The Navy is only NOW doing away with hardcopy service records. The Army started doing it in ’98.

    The biggest problem here is that there’s no single agency, or, hell, agencies within an agency that do things the same way. At least the Navy is beginning to do things the right way. DoN employees can bitch and moan about NMCI as much as they like, but the good that they do far outweighs the bad. They create single standards and ensure interoperability across the entire Navy and Marine Corps compute network. If we did that for the federal government we’d be closer to solving the problems the report addresses.

    So, it’s not Bush’s fault. But it is a big problem.

  3. Gary from Jersey says:

    Couldn’t be bothered putting filters on the servers or a tracking agent on the computers, could they? Nah.

    Someone should see if the porn industry makes big campaign contributions.

  4. Teresa says:

    Well Cullen of course explained part of the problem very well. It’s a huge one with even more than his short comment’s worth of reasons for why things are the way they are.

    However, I think this is more along the lines of what is being said…

    “It’s time to spend MONEY!!!! LOTS of MONEY!!!! You never get me ANYTHING!!! We just wanna go out to the store and buy new toys!!! We can’t work on OLD stuff only NEW shiny stuff!!! So, stop being stodgy and let us have NEW toys or we won’t do our work!!!!”

  5. don says:


    Then again, the employees could always bring their home computers to work with them.

  6. Mr. Bingley says:

    unfortunately Teresa has nailed it. our government’s mindset is that spending more money is ALWAYS the solution.

  7. JeffS says:

    Unfortunately, yes, Mr. Bingley. Which is stupid, especially when you consider that all most Federal employees use computers for are filling out forms, sending e-mails, writing reports, and reading documents.

    No kidding — the three biggest software packages used in my office? Word processor, e-mail, and a web browser. Next comes a spreadsheet. You don’t need a huge computer for that; a “thin client” could do the trick.

    Buy everyone new computers? Give me a break. I’d rather they’d spend the money on a decent backbone for all of our networks.

  8. Cullen says:

    The problem is that one shop has one set of IT issues and another shop has a completely different set of issues. Easily 75% of the computing I do is on Word, Outlook, Excel, Access and the internet. However, that other 25% requires specialty software and the hardware to run it.

    As software updates, I need better hardware to run it. The Navy solved (well, solved is perhaps an overstatement, is working hard to solve works better) the issue by establishing guidelines for hardware and software Navy-wide and timelines for upgrading both.

    But that’s not the real problem here. The real problem is systems that don’t talk to each other. Sure, anybody has MS Office to do MS Office stuff, but when you talk about giant personnel databases, those are in an Excel spreadsheet or Access database. They’re in an organization-specific, legacy program created for them by a contractor. And this has happened in so many places throughout the Fed. We could solve a lot of these problems by transitioning to industry-standard enterprise systems.

  9. Cullen says:

    > those are in an Excel spreadsheet or Access database

    Should say:

    ARE NOT in …

  10. JeffS says:

    That’s the biggest problem with software, Cullen. Everyone wants their data in a proprietary format, locked away from the other Federal agencies. Which is stupid, given how many standard packages are available commercially.

    This is the case in my own agency. Off hand, I can think of 3 major databases that I have to use which are NOT compatible with any other package…..including Access and Excel.

    Pretty stupid, very frustrating.

  11. major dad says:

    Cullen, there is only one way to describe NMCI, it sucks always has sucked and continues to get suckier despite the billions, yes billions sports fans that have been spent on it.

  12. Cullen says:

    I disagree MD. NMCI does the best they can under the rules the Navy makes them play. Most of the patches and crap that crash your computer, it’s not NMCI that mandates that stuff be pushed to your computer. That’s Navy IT.

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