Friday, November 14, 2008

Transparency in Government

Slate has a good post summarizing 10 ways in which Obama can make government more transparent (drawn from various think-tank proposals), and the drawbacks of each. Because I've blogged in the past about transparency, I feel an obligation to comment on some of Slate's comments.

2. Lobbyist disclosure. I favor disclosure, but not prohibitions. (There was a piece in the paper, perhaps the Post, this week reporting academic research that said lobbyists gave the most money to the committee members who asked the best (i.e., not grandstanding) questions in committee hearings.

3. Broadcast cabinet meetings. That's idiotic. Not broadcasting, but the idea of having cabinet meetings. The meetings which matter are not formal meetings of the full cabinet, but the meetings the cabinet member has with the director of OMB at budget time, the meetings the President has with his staff, with maybe one or two Cabinet secretaries.

5. Get rid of pseudo classifications. I agree. Each piece of paper should have two attributes: its bureaucratic distribution (i.e., Eye-only, etc.) and its classification level.

6 Make all filings electronic. Yes. Also all documents.

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