As an entity, the Alliance Party is designed to reform government so that it may concentrate on our actual needs as a nation for both the short and long-term future. But refocusing government to act for the national interest is alone not enough, because even if the corrupted political party establishment's grip on power is removed the problems that plague government will not automatically be solved. The leviathan of today’s bureaucratic structure still stands in our way, as do its self-serving fiefdoms that twist public functions for political ambitions and to satisfy inappropriate conflicts of interest.
Dysfunction, incompetence and corruption within government have become truly entrenched, and should this remain unchanged any efforts we engaged to improve our society on a large scale will be inherently hindered regardless of what electoral victories we ultimately earn. For this reason, our government's bureaucratic structure must be reformed to ensure optimal operating efficiency and to cease the rampant waste of what eventually amounts to trillions of tax dollars.
To this end, we’ve focused on concepts of improvement, such as transparency, efficiency and accountability – but these concepts have only been discussed in abstract terms. In this chapter, we’ll look at how we can apply them tangibly to our government through a new model the Alliance Party proposes for bureaucratic agency to work within.
This model for bureaucratic operation is intended to maintain the same degree of services provided by government today, yet at dramatically increased efficiency and effectiveness. It approaches these goals through a different direction to how unelected government agencies are structured - which today is largely contrived arbitrarily with limited reasoning (and why the Forest Service is within the Department of Agriculture, the Parks Service is within the Department of the Interior and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is within the Department of Commerce).
We propose instead that bureaucratic structure at the federal level be engineered from a top-level view to have defined and unique roles within public service, consolidating functions, preventing overlap and ensuring public money is being spent responsibly. In doing so, it’s worth recognizing why this hasn’t been done already, which beyond political corruption boils down to two primary obstacles:
The first obstacle is that the insular nature of bureaucratic agency resists and resents outside efforts to reform and often relies on its own complexity to maintain power within its individual fiefdoms. In a hyper-partisan political environment, this hinders reform as the political capital necessary to force it, and the risks of failure, are often too high for elected officials to justify.
This model does not incorporate internal bureaucratic resistance to reform based on their perceived self-interests, because their self-interests are irrelevant to how the government system should ideally operate conceptually. Government functions are an entity of service for the people and the national interest, which makes them subordinate to the wishes of the public. That’s how a government of the people works.
The second obstacle is that today’s political dynamic is consumed with the debate over “big” versus “small” government as if they were the only two options one could consider. But raw size is a poor metric to determine ideal government performance, as size is not necessarily a relevant factor to effectiveness. Indeed, your hand-held smartphone today is far more powerful than legacy computer systems that were once the size of a school bus.
To illustrate further, I’ll pose an analogy of two creatures you’re likely familiar with: a grizzly bear and a nest of yellow jackets. Both are well-known animals that, like government, you definitely do not want angry with you. Yet on the other hand, both take very different and noteworthy approaches to how they live and accomplish goals:
Yellow jackets are creatures of teamwork. They work as a team to grow their nests efficiently and live under a defined hierarchy with clear roles and responsibilities. They are effective in discovering new information and interacting with their environment, yet they consume few resources and produce little waste. If threatened, they respond instantly, delivering stings that deter (if not kill) animals thousands of times larger than them. Yet in protection of their homes, they only attack to defend themselves. Once a threat has dispersed, they go back to conducting their business as usual. Beyond their defensive prowess, they live in harmony with their surrounding environment – but their reputation to not anger is unrivaled by few.
In this analogy, the grizzly bear represents our government today: massive, slow, resource-consuming and waste-producing. It is powerful when aggressive but doesn’t know when to quit, frequently causing collateral damage when it acts.
The yellow jacket nest represents what our government should be: efficient, effective and streamlined, quick to investigate and respond, doing only what it needs to exist efficiently. It does not go out of its way to bother others, but if you mess with it, it will sting the hell out of you.
By consolidating bureaucratic agencies into streamlined services with defined and unique roles and responsibilities while removing needless redundancy, it allows government to function more like the nest of yellow jackets and give the American public far more value for their tax dollar. Redundancy is toxic to systems because it leads to waste, and in the public sector, a lack of transparency and accountability. That is specifically why high-performing systems are usually engineered to avoid it and that is specifically what the Alliance Party proposes we do.
Just like you don’t have 90 radiators in your car, the federal government shouldn’t have 90+ separate police agencies. Just like most companies don’t have hundreds of separate human resources departments, the federal government shouldn’t have hundreds of decentralized regulatory agencies. Just like your house doesn’t have 15 different water heaters, the federal government shouldn’t have 15 different intelligence agencies. And so on.
Our bureaucratic structure should be instead defined by unique sets of components for unique sets of functions and unique sets of responsibilities, all within a clearly defined structure. This way, if a function fails, we have a singular entity to look to for reform. If the function acts improperly, we have a singular entity to hold accountable. If a function is spending a lot of money, we can see exactly where public money is going and why. With the President of the United States as its head, this proposed model operates on a three-tiered hierarchy: Office => Service => Sub-service.
The Office is an overarching parent for a sector of government. The head of each Office is the Office Secretary, a cabinet-level position of which there are a total of eight in this model. Each Office Secretary is appointed by the President, with the exception of the Secretary for the Office of Citizen Services, who is elected.
Within each Office are subordinate Services which each provide specific and unique functions. Within each Service, there might be sub-services to perform certain tasks, but they would each be subordinate to an identifiable parent Service, which in turn is subordinate to an identifiable parent Office – without exception.
This model also adds a few new functions and renames most currently existing functions to “Services” as it forces the recognition that a government function shouldn’t be some stoic, unreachable bureaucracy, but rather a public service that is just that: a service that exists to work for you if you need it.