Our federal government seems to have no shortage of examples that reflect its ineptitude and inefficiency. It stands as a gleaming example of how normal business should not operate.
The latest example comes from an Associated Press story published Thursday. It seems the Social Security Administration has spent some $300 million in an effort to cobble together a new computer system that is outdated and cannot handle an endless flood of disability claims.
Get this: Delays and mismanagement are to blame. Surprised, readers? Well, you shouldn’t be. We have a federal government steeped in waste and inefficiency. While America’s businesses are trying to survive by keeping leaner staffs, too many governmental bodies are overflowing with more people than needed to do the job. Add to that the paperwork, red tape and ridiculously long steps it takes in government operations to do something as simple as acquire a computer. And, of course, there are people employed in cushy government jobs they landed not because they are eminently qualified or, in some cases, because the job is even necessary to begin with. No, they’re the ones who are connected and who land jobs that put them on the taxpayer’s payroll.


As the AP reported, in 2008 this Social Security project was deemed about two to three years from being completed. Five years later? Still two to three years out. Oh, and the project is yet in the testing phase, with no end in sight, no completion date pinpointed and, even better yet, no final price tag affixed to it.
In the real business world, people would have long ago lost their jobs handling a project in that way. Further, no business could have survived the outlay of cash -- even on a scaled down cost basis. But then again, no real business has such ready and free access to the taxpayers’ wallets.
It gets better still. An outside consulting firm has been brought in, and you know full well the firm is not working pro bono. So, there goes more taxpayer money. But wait! There’s more. The administration has, as it puts it, hit the reset button. Essentially, they’re starting over. Hey, after nearly $300 million, why not? It’s not like the project has cost real money so far, right?
This would be laughable were it not so sad. Were it not your money, our money that is being wasted so senselessly. And yet, the federal government seems to have an endless stream of dollars it can and does toss down this hole and that. It’s often said, especially during the campaign season, that the government should be run more like a business. We agree. We’d just like to add a caveat to that. Run it like a real and efficient business. Better yet, run it like a fiscally responsible nonprofit with little overhead. Maybe The Salvation Army should be in the White House.