The Real explanation for government inefficiency: they are using old computers!

I doubt that The Hill is using "startling admission" in a way that approves of the explanation being offered here. It has been twenty years since I worked in the Federal government, but we had good computers back then (though Orszag that just proves his point). All I can say is that I didn't think that the Federal government was particularly efficient back then.

A big reason why the government is inefficient and ineffective is because Washington has outdated technology, with federal workers having better computers at home than in the office.

This startling admission came Thursday from Peter Orszag, who manages the federal bureaucracy for President Barack Obama.

The public is getting a bad return on its tax dollars because government workers are operating with outdated technologies, Orszag said in a statement that kicked off a summit between Obama and dozens of corporate CEOs.

“Twenty years ago, people who came to work in the federal government had better technology at work than at home,” said Orszag, director of the Office of Management and Budget. “Now that’s no longer the case.

“The American people deserve better service from their government, and better return for their tax dollars.” . . .

UPDATE: Now Obama is going to people in the computer industry, particularly Steve Balmer at Microsoft, for advice. Talks about improvement in IT.

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Blogger Chas said...

We'd be better off if government employees were limited to using an abacus, though even that much technology in the hands of government would still be dangerous because government itself is inherently dangerous.

1/18/2010 6:36 AM  
Blogger JFA in Montreal said...

This is bunk. If the US is running software similar to here in Canada, most softwares are not graphic (Windows or otherwise) based. All they do is access databases from the server. Individual stations should *not* hold any data as this is a security nightmare and data management nightmare. Simple terminals with the power of a 386-33 in text mode are plenty for their applications. The only drawback is that those stations do not run Windows, thus the civil servant can not play Solitaire all day long. And THAT is a bad thing, for a civil servant playing solitaire all day long is way less harmfull than a zealous productive one.

1/18/2010 9:28 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

At least one agency has an outsourcing agreement, requiring a new system every three years.

I know many people with systems over 3 years old.

1/19/2010 1:54 PM  

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