Friday, September 16, 2016
A Cranky Opinion for
CRANKY OPINION SATURDAY
The following is the opinion of a cranky old man with zero government bureaucracy experience. Opposing opinions are welcome and may even be considered. As always, please, no name calling…that means you, you big stupid-head!
Recently one of the Presidential candidates recommended rebuilding our military and claimed it would be paid for by cutting waste and streamlining bureaucracy. I have no problem with this, I think it is an excellent idea. I have no doubt that the high cost of building up our military could easily be covered by cutting government waste and streamlining bureaucracy; if the waste was corporate waste. I’m not sure that government waste is so easily cut.
In my corporate experience cutting waste was fairly simple.
Management would tell lower management that costs needed to be reduced.
Lower management would inform management that they were already running a bare bones operation and any cuts without serious degradation of the business would be absolutely impossible.
Upper management would then mandate budget cuts of 10% across the board…no exceptions.
Lower management would then make the necessary cuts and guess what, operations continued to run just fine. How was this possible?
Lower management is always aware that cuts may be looming. As processes become streamlined through improved technology and or economies of scale there is the opportunity to reduce costs. Lower management is loath to reduce costs on their own.
Well for one thing, manager’s importance tends to be viewed by the size of their budget. Reduce your budget and not only are you not rewarded, you are perceived as less important. Higher management may even see the opportunity to combine departments and your job is toast.
No indeed, lower management has no incentive to reduce costs, and will never admit they are over staffed. When asked to reduce costs, they will never admit there is excess, but when told to reduce costs or else…it is not a problem.
I am sure this reluctance to cut costs that is in the corporate environment is the same in government. I am not sure that any one-person in government, even the President, can simply mandate cost reductions. There are probably many levels that pass on such a request and each level will have the same reluctance as corporate managers for the same reasons. Government probably requires “expert” studies for every reduction, and probably has rules in place that make staff reductions difficult.
This is one of the largest problems with government and would explain why as businesses become more streamlined and costs have been reduced by the tremendous efficiency gains we have seen through technology in the last 40 years, government spending just keeps growing.
The corporate world mandates action, and people find a way to make it work. Government has expensive feasibility studies, and the studies explain why cost cutting is impossible.
The preceding was the opinion of a cranky old man and not necessarily that of management…Mrs. Cranky.