EDITORIAL: Biden’s biggest government won’t improve efficiency
President Joe Biden held a photo op in the Oval Office on Monday to sign an executive order to push the federal government to improve its customer service practices. That’s a good idea – but also highlights the confusing inconsistency that dominates this administration’s agenda.
The order covers three dozen “customer experience improvement commitments” involving 17 federal agencies. Among the improvements, according to The Hill:
■ Improve the responsiveness of the Transportation Security Administration and allow Americans to renew their passports online.
■ Streamline the process for student loan recipients to manage their accounts and reduce red tape when small businesses apply for loans and grants.
■ Consolidate forms for those looking to take advantage of disaster relief while enabling the use of smartphone photos and virtual inspections for such claims.
■ Make it easier for older Americans to claim their Social Security benefits online and create personalized portals that allow Medicare beneficiaries to keep tabs on their benefits and accounts.
“At the end of the day, we are going to make our government run efficiently,” Mr. Biden said. “This will go a long way in restoring confidence in government. “
It is debatable. But there should be little doubt that the purpose of the order is noble: Americans deserve a government whose agencies are accessible and responsive.
Yet while professing a micro-level concern for improving efficiency and customer service in federal agencies, the president at the macro level is aggressively promoting policies that will almost certainly lead to the opposite. Mr. Biden’s national agenda involves one of the largest regulatory beltway state expansions in that country’s long history. There is hardly any corner of the federal government that would be smaller and less intrusive if the Biden administration persuades Congress to pass the president’s spending plans. This is clearly incompatible in the long run with streamlining bureaucracy and simplifying taxpayer interactions with federal agencies.
“There is a great deal of empirical and theoretical research on the size of government and its correlation with public sector performance and economic outcomes,” wrote economics professor Livio Di Matteo for the Fraser Institute recently, adding that ” there appears to be an association between small governments and greater efficiency in public service delivery and often better performance results.
Mr Biden and his team insist they can rewrite the laws of economics by increasing Treasury printing presses and increasing dependence on government. Their total surprise at soaring inflation is instructive. Expect the President’s efficiency initiative to suffer from a similar disconnect.