Friday, September 18, 2015

What's Wrong with the IG's and GAO?

That's the question I take away from reading Megan McArdle's post on the IG report on the Obamacare website software fiasco.

She says:
You can take this report as a searing indictment of the agency and its contracting personnel. I took something rather different away from reading it:
  1. The architects of the law were incredibly naïve.
  2. Federal contracting rules are crazy.
I agree with her assessment, but I'd argue that both things reflect the mindset of inspectors general and GAO. They like to see the rules, the paper documents, and to compare what happens to what's on paper.  In many years of looking at GAO reports on USDA/FSA activities I don't remember much direct criticism of political appointees or of Congress. IMHO rhose are more often the source of problems than the career bureaucrats.  (Of course, I'd say that, and of course the auditors aren't going to point the finger at the political types.)
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