Obama and the Government Reform Imperative

Reforming government, a central cause of the FixGov blog, is not some obscure interest of management consultants and accountants. It’s essential to restoring the confidence of citizens (who are also voters) in the public sector. This, in turn, is a precondition for earning widespread support for government to solve social and economic problems.

That’s the thrust of my column in this morning’s Washington Post. I argue that President Obama should make reform, including a “campaign to bring fresh talent” into government, a centerpiece of his remaining time in office.

“With the economic crisis behind him and the prospect of legislating dim,” I write, “he can turn to recruitment, administration, and management.” His goal should be “to lift up government service as a noble calling.”

Making government work better should be a goal across ideological and partisan lines. But while both conservatives and progressives should be invested in efficiency, achieving it is a particularly urgent matter for progressives. It is progressives, after all, who believe government programs can promote both fairness and opportunity. As my colleagues William Galston and Elaine Kamarck wrote at the beginning of President Obama’s term, “change you can believe in needs a government you can trust.”

You can read the full column, “Obama needs to do more, not less, on his own,” here.