Sunday, July 04, 2010

The Alpha and Omega of Bureaucracy

The Post today had pieces showing the alpha and omega of bureaucracy:
Ezra Klein discusses the need for "creative bureaucrats" (my term, not his) to write the regulations for health care reform and financial reform.  Getting the system right up front is critical to success or failure. He writes:
Both bills require the creation of institutions, such as the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and the state health insurance exchanges. And both require existing agencies, like the Federal Reserve and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, to take on much larger roles. All of this tends to play poorly politically, with naysayers worrying about unelected bureaucrats making important decisions behind closed doors. But in some ways, the greater danger is that the doors will be open and the wrong people will walk through
Peter Carlson has a piece from the other end of the bureaucracy: the "operator", the person who has to apply the rules and regulations in face to face dealings with the (in this case) American public as a census worker.  He had to contact people who failed to mail back their form.  His account, including the creation of two new races (Armenian-Irish and Irish-Peruvian) shows the reality behind government statistics, as well as being a reflection of where we are in the great melting pot.

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