President Obama in his State of the Union speech promised us he will “slash bureaucracy and streamline the permitting process for key projects” in order to expedite certain initiatives. I doubt he will reduce bureaucracy at all, but more importantly, does Obama really believe that bureaucracy hinders efficiency?
This is not the first time Obama has lamented the inefficiency of bureaucracy. He did so in his 2011 State of the Union and in an omitted part of an NBC interview in November 2013:
When we buy I.T. services generally, it is so bureaucratic and so cumbersome that a whole bunch of it doesn’t work or it ends up being way over cost. And yeah, in some ways, I should have anticipated that just because this was important and I was saying this was my top priority.
The visionary of a program that federally oversees healthcare bureaucracies declares bureaucracy to be an economic roadblock. Was this a concession to what conservatives have long argued about the unintended consequences of many of our federal regulations? Much of the Republican frustration with Obamacare lies in their deep distrust of government competence. Shall we recall the triumph that is Healthcare.gov?
In fact, listening to some of Obama’s rhetoric on fiscal issues, a Republican might find some agreement. Of course “budget compromise should leave us freer to create new jobs” and “hardworking, responsible Americans” deserve a chance to succeed at what they are capable of doing. But what the unapplauding John Boehner and his GOP allies realize is that, although the Democrats claim to want a shared economic outcome, their method will do anything but achieve it, or if it does, it will be at the expense of something else. Until specific courses of action replace the empty rhetoric, the feel-good buzzwords will remain just that: empty rhetoric. But we should expect nothing less from the useless State of the Union.