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Thursday, May 24, 2007

We need to elect some junk yard dogs to Congress

The general purposes of oversight — and what constitutes this function — can be stated in more specific terms. These terms unavoidably overlap because of the numerous and multifaceted dimensions of oversight. A brief list includes:

1. review the agency rule-making process;
2. monitor the use of contractors and consultants for government services;
3. encourage and promote cooperation between the branches;
4. examine agency personnel procedures;
5. acquire information useful in future policymaking;
6. investigate constituent complaints and media critiques;
7. assess whether program design and execution maximize the delivery of services to beneficiaries - governmental and private;
8. compare the effectiveness of one program with another;
9. protect agencies and programs against unjustified criticisms; and
10. study federal evaluation activities.

That's a lot of promises for 435 people on a couple of dozen committees to keep. So they don't, because they can't. The Congress wants the prestige of looking as if they do. Prestige is a poor substitute for power when the Executive branch needs all of the above done to it. And when the Congress launches a real investigation it seems that is the only thing it can do.

Nothing can be done about the number Senators to do the jobs. But the U.S. House of Representatives can be made larger. With more Congresspersons they could dig further afield and deeper. But, that it just about the last thing any President would tolerate. Which makes a good argument for doing it.

A larger House would cost more money. But we try it for ten years and see if they didn't recover all their costs and a lot more in cutting out Executive branch waste, fraud and abuse corruption. If they failed in ten years, the size of the House could be reduced in size after the next census. If they stopped just one military misadventure by the President they would have paid for themselves ten times over!

Flogging to be continued...

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