Mona Charen, in a recent column titled “Why VA Service Won’t Improve”, points out the pitfalls of thinking that firing and hiring at the VA will fix the problems there. Her last sentence is a classic.
The entire column can be found at
Excerpts: [Bolding and caps are added by me]
Here’s a not-so-bold prediction: After the press loses interest in the Veterans Affairs scandal, after the investigations have been completed and one or two officials have resigned, nothing will change.
Is this cynicism? Not really. It comes down to one’s view of how much government can achieve by bureaucratic, top-down management.
The progressive project has limitless faith in the capacity of wise managers to run complex systems for the benefit of all. Untainted by the profit motive, bureaucrats can deliver services equitably and efficiently. Every liberal/progressive program has the effect of taking decision-making away from individuals, communities and local governments, and centralizing it in Washington.
President Barack Obama has doggedly championed this approach.
. . . .
Progressives respond that the IHS is simply underfunded — as they regard every federal program except the military. But even Democratic Sen. Jon Tester of Montana found when he examined problems with the IHS that at least one provider was seeing only one patient per day.
It isn’t management; it’s a matter of incentives. No central authority can make a system like the VA or the IHS or Britain’s National Health Service run efficiently. Competition is the only system that gives the power to consumers to reward good service and punish bad. But progressives cannot shed their faith that MORE government is the answer to BAD government, so this story is sure to be repeated.
[End of excerpts]
I feel that the theory that “MORE government is the answer to BAD government” is responsible for most of the truly serious problems we now face in this country. Everyone should understand that the government should only provide solutions of last resort. When faced with a problem, its prime directive should be, “How can this problem be solved in the private sector, with minimal regulation and oversight by the government?” But I fear that ship has sailed . . . .