I have a feeling that much of my blogging will be done from above 30,000 feet. I find that spending time on a plane gives me the bug of creativity, or at least I am forced to sit and stew in my own thoughts while trying to avoid being too annoying to those around me. I am on a return flight from San Diego where I have spent the week training a group of Government Employees that are charged with the responsibility of managing unaccompanied housing (barracks) for the Navy and the Marines. For those of you that are not aware, I do an extensive amount of training for the military housing sector.
The program that I was teaching is an advanced certification program, and forces the students to look at alternative ways to accomplish the mission of housing our military members that have no dependents. These tend to be the younger sector and lower rank military personnel. I find this class to be very interesting because typically the students are people that have 20 plus years of experience and have an enormous amount of institutional knowledge. But this class forces them to get outside the box that they have been caged in and really ask the question: Can the private sector do this better than us. Being a private sector thinker myself, my gut reaction was: absolutely. But what I have realized over the time that I have been able to spend with this group of people is that we, the private sector, cannot do it better, but we can do it without the severe regulation that the government has placed in their way. The knowledge, the desire, the passion, and the ability to do this is present within the existing GS system. What also is present are shelves upon shelves of rule books, called desk guides, standard operating procedures, and statements of work. This has led to an enormous amount of inefficiency due to bureaucratic nonsense. So it isn’t a matter of doing it better, because with privatization of housing on the family side the government has partnered with some very reputable property management firms and developers, that have been afforded the opportunity to play the same game but with a completely different set of rules.
To use a game analogy, this is like changing the rules of baseball to move the fence in the outfield in by 100 yards. While we are seeing some dramatic stories of success and savings in the defense budget by literally billions of dollars in the military housing privatization initiatives, it forces me to think about what is going on in Washington today where we are again up against a threatened partial shutdown of our government, for the 4th time this year waiting for the 535 crazy congresspeople in Washington DC to stop holding a gun to the head of the american people. If I were a federal employee, I think I would contact an attorney and try to sue the government for the “emotional distress” that these continuing resolutions have brought onto me and my family. I think their could be a legitimate case fought that it would turn into a class action lawsuit that would prevail. All kidding aside, being a taxpayer and seeing the stark differences between the privatized side of housing in the military and the civil servant side of housing in the military, it makes me question, what don’t I see within the rest of the federal agencies(USPS, IRS, HUD, Treasury, Federal Reserve, etc.) I am sure that the trillions of dollars that we are in debt could easily be erased by “good management”. I think that if IBM or Microsoft were this mismanaged the shareholders would revolt and demand
new leadership. It is time as the taxpayers (aka shareholders) of America that we fire the failing management team and the board of directors to make way for people that actually care about the future of our country and the the future of their reelection campaign.
OK stepping off of my soap box now. Thanks for reading this diatribe, I feel much better having gotten that off of my chest. I am less likely to anger the guy next to me now. I promise the next post will be filled with rainbows and unicorns. I am sick of being depressed and angry.