Monday, September 14, 2009

Why Government Can't Run Health Care: Or anything else for that matter!

The Watchman has not had a good day. In fact it was a disaster from the start, didn't get any better and resulted in the downing of a double martini upon arriving home. What, you may ask, was the cause of such a horrific day? Government operating at its very finest. Yes indeed your government, the one you all pay boatloads of taxes to, managed to enter into the twilight zone and create the proverbial do-loop. Let me explain.

For a number of years, Fort Carson's environmental group has used the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) to aid in our development of management plans and perform necessary environmental impact studies and assessments under the National Environmental Protection Act. This work was done by recognized agency experts, USFWS employees who are federal government workers. Earlier this year it was discovered our former director had improperly developed an inter agency agreement to use the USFWS. In other words he'd by-passed the 20 person approval chain. In response our director was relieved of duty and then the hassle began that has turned into a nightmare. What was simple before, became a miss-mash of many cooks in the kitchen, with lawyers arguing over the jots and tittles of law, financial types arguing about the color of money (which I will not explain in this blog), and what template should be used for the blessed agreement.

Now here is the kicker: Our division staff prepared a draft agreement that didn't pass muster with the gnomes of higher HQ. So we re-did it in their desired template. Basically rearranged paragraphs and changed a few adjectives. This new draft was approved by the higher beings at HQ and we were told to have our commander sign it. That we did, and quickly too as time was running out. Remember, in most state and federal governments if you don't spend money given to you, then it is 'lost' for use the day after the end of the year. And we're not talking about parking meter change here either! Now get this: We send the SIGNED agreement by both our commander and the USFWS to higher HQ, who then shreds it apart with at least 20 new issues or questions! This is death by a thousand cuts and our staff is ready to throw in the towel. We are now redoing and justifying the previous justifications to satisfy someone in higher HQ who apparently doesn't want this thing to go through.

We would have given up a month ago, except for the 13 highly skilled and award winning USFWS staff who have worked in partnership with us for well over 10 years. To be treated this way and face the threat of unemployment in the middle of a recession is a travesty. Not only that, but without their support, our existing staff can not do the work these experts do and we may in the end subject the Army to fines and harsh public opinion for violating the environmental laws.

The Watchman tells this story to illustrate the governments total incompetence at running such complex activities. If they can't get it straight for saving the wildlife, how can we expect the government to run a mega trillion health care program? How can we have confidence that there won't be some glitch in the process that will totally screw up the system to the point where not only are people out of work, but people die. The Cash for Clunkers still haven't paid dealerships for price reductions due to bureaucratic bungling. Again, ask your self, based on your experience with government, do you really, really, believe the government can be trusted to run the single most important aspect of you and your family's life? Really?

Thomas Pain wrote: "That which governs best, governs least." His sentiment needs to be followed to day, as it doesn't appear our government can run much of anything well.

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