Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It would be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron's cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience.
--C.S. Lewis--

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Obama's New Watchdog

Ok, I'll try to stay away from the obvious jokes about creating new bureaucracies in order to slow the growth of existing bureaucracies. I like the idea of an efficiency czar, but I'm not sure how much good it can really do, even with the best of intentions. The whole civil service system is designed to reward things other than efficiency. Some of these things (longevity, risk aversion) run in direct opposition to the practices of an efficient organization. A new advisor may help a little around the periphery by highlighting really egregious examples of waste or bad judgement, but I don't see how they can do anything more substantive without the president making a conscious decision to really roll up his sleeves and overhaul government. Since that would involve ticking off a lot of entrenched interests, something the president-elect has never before done, I won't hold my breath. I really hope I'm wrong.