by Wayne Eleazer
|Certain provisions of the Initiative sounded like they must have been invented by the old KGB. Workload did not matter; you still had to cut your workforce by 30%.|
So, no one in DC had to do the really difficult task and ask just what parts of the federal government were good for, anyway. No one asked why the Agriculture Department had as many employees as there are farmers in the US. No one had to figure out just what the Commerce Department was for. No one had to ask why the Education Department never educated anyone or if the Energy Department had actually produced any energy. No one had to answer just why we still needed a National Screw Threads Standardization Board or a Rural Electrification Agency. Everyone just had to cough up 30% of their workforce. Except for Congress, that is; they exempted themselves on the basis that they “gave at the office” or something like that.
Certain provisions of the Initiative sounded like they must have been invented by the old KGB. Workload did not matter; you still had to cut your workforce by 30%. The Department of Defense was in the throes of a reduction in force that would amount to some 40%, but that did not count; the 30% cut would be in addition to that 40% reduction. You could not refuse to do assigned work and you could not simply contract things out due to a shortfall in personnel. No relief was given from federal regulations or Congressionally-imposed directives—the bureaucracy would endure and pork would go on! During the Reagan Administration the Excellent Installations program allowed units to identify regulations that were a problem and then develop alternate local procedures instead, but that idea was not continued.
A workforce struggling to comply with a 30% reduction that was so disconnected from reality does not attract or produce “brilliant engineers” or for that matter, competent janitors. The Columbia Accident Investigation Board noted that NASA inspectors for the shuttle had been cut by 25% in the preceding years. Clearly someone should have launched an immediate investigation as to why NASA had not complied with the mandatory full 30% reduction.