Topics: Obamacare

Washington will never work until bureaucrats know they can be fired tomorrow

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Beltway Confidential,Opinion,DC,Mark Tapscott,Morning Examiner,Obamacare,Jobs,Washington,Kathleen Sebelius

Are liberals really incapable of governing because they are blind to the inherent flaws of massive bureaucracies? National Review Online's Jim Geraghty makes a persuasive case today for that proposition.

"In most professions, when you end up spending ten times what you budgeted, the consequences are swift and severe. Heads roll. Responsibilities are reassigned. Budgetary authority gets yanked. This, of course, is not how things work in the federal government," Geraghty notes, referring to well-publicized recent cost-overruns on

The result is that when liberals are in power, examples abound of "high-profile failure and limited consequences" such as the fact Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius still has her job.

Are conservatives any better?

But before they start gloating, conservatives need to look in the mirror on this issue, too. Consider the ongoing catastrophe known as the "Department of Veterans Affairs."

As the Washington Examiner's Mark Flatten has meticulously documented for the past year, VA is a horror house of incompetence, mismanagement and bureaucratic corruption. See here, then here, plus this, and also here, for starters.

If there was such a thing as a shock trauma unit for government agencies, conservatives would have choppered VA there a long time ago.

Too little, too late?

House Veterans Affairs Committee Chairman Jeff Miller of Florida recently introduced legislation to make it easier to fire incompetent VA senior executives.

That's a start, but anybody who has ever spent time working in the federal bureaucracy knows the present culture of unaccountability goes much deeper.

The VA disaster can be a demonstration project for reforming the federal bureaucracy, so why not extend the ability to fire incompetent bureaucrats to middle managers?

Real civil service reform

Keep the career civil service for everybody else, but make job retention of the decision-makers below the political appointees dependent upon job performance.

True, liberals would scream about "the return of the spoils system," but the prospect of being fired for incompetence or irresponsibility would be a sobering one.

That's when the word "accountability" actually begins to mean something on a day-to-day basis in the nation's capital.

On today's

Editorial: It's time to put some limits on class-action frequent filers.

Columnist/Ron Arnold: Stunning Supreme Court decision vindicates property owners beset by Big Green's "rails-to-trails" movement.

Columnist/Noemie Emery: Dreaming of "President Ted Cruz" will turn into a nightmare for the GOP.

Columnist/Timothy P. Carney: Democrats talk about climate while raking in billionaire bucks.

Columnist/Byron York: Florida race shows Democrats' Obamacare dilemma.

Beltway Confidential/Philip Klein: Obamacare sign-up numbers vary widely.

Beltway Confidential/Sean Higgins: NLRB to let VW workers weigh in on UAW vote.

PennAve/Rebecca Berg: Senate Conservatives Fund wades further into House races.

PennAve/Susan Crabtree: Crimea crisis doesn't slow Obama money chase.

Legal Newsline/David Yates: From household mold to insurance gold -- How Steve Mostyn made his millions.

In other news

CBS News: Sebelius faces Congress as Obamacare reaches crunch time.

USA Today: Obama set to meet Ukraine prime minister as Crimea referendum nears.

The Washington Post: Jolly Republican wins Florida special election for House seat.

The New York Times: Obama will seek broad expansion of overtime pay.

The Los Angeles Times: Dispute flares as Feinstein accuses CIA of spying on Senate panel.

New York Post: Tax records show Lady Gaga's charity spent little on charity.

Righty Playbook

Washington Free Beacon: Egypt turns to Russia as Obama rejects plea for U.S. choppers.

The American Thinker: Why the U.S. overpays for highways, transit and other transportation infrastructure.

National Review Online: Liberals cannot govern because they refuse to see bureaucratic failures.

Bonus must-read

The American Conservative: Republican social justice?

Lefty Playbook

The American Prospect: Even the GOP's "moderates" seem pretty far-right. How to actually "marry smart."

The Progressive: Fukushima shows perils of nuke power.

Bonus must-read

Mother Jones: Kidnapped by Iran.

Blog Right

Althouse: The Three Labs Cafe.

Jammie Wearing Fools: Hillary got illicit campaign funds from D.C. scandal figure.

OZY: Who is Will McDonough?

Blog Left

Talking Points Memo: Erratic House GOP has officially lost it on Obamacare.

America Blog: Sequester cut funding for 1,000 researchers.

Kevin Drum: Playing dumb partisan games on executive orders.

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Mark Tapscott

Executive Editor
The Washington Examiner