Government Reform: Democratic Platform

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The Democratic and Republican party platforms both have things to say about how their party would approach running the government.  Since they are both a bit long, I’ll break them into separate postings. 

The Democratic party platform document I’ve found on the Internet is an August 7th draft.  I can’t seem to find anyone who has a final version.  However, the draft has a section entitled:  “Renewing American Democracy.”  This section contains the following statements:

** “We will create a new “open source” government, using technology to make government more transparent, accountable and inclusive.

** “We will make government data available online and will have an online video archive of significant agency meetings.

** “We will put all non-emergency bills that Congress has passed online for five days, to allow the American public to review and comment on them before they are signed into law.

** “We will require Cabinet officials to have periodic national online town hall meetings to discuss issues before their agencies.

** “We will develop a comprehensive management agenda to prevent operational breakdowns in government and ensure that government provides the level of services that the American people deserve.

** “ . . .we will work to rebuild and reengage our federal workforce.  We will make government a more attractive place to work.

** “We will pay for our new spending, eliminate waste in government programs, demand and measure results, and stop funding programs that don’t work.

** “We are committed to a participatory government.  We will use the most current technology available to improve the quality of government decision-making . . . We will enhance the flow of information between citizens and government – in both directions – by involving the public in the work of government agencies.  We will not simply solicit opinions, but will also use new technology to tap into the vast expertise of the American citizenry, for the benefit of government and our democracy.

** “. . . we’ll end the abuse of no-bid contracts. . . we will institute a gift ban. . . We support campaign finance reform. . . “

Other sections of the party platform also touch on management-related issues:

** Create a Social Investment Fund Network to invest in the “ideas that work” created by government and non-profit civic institutions.

** Establish a Chief Technology Officer for the nation to ensure we use technology to enhance the functioning, transparency, and expertise of government, including establishing a national interoperable public safety communications network . . .

** Be fiscally responsible by enforcing “pay as you go” budgeting rules.

** Make the veterans benefits system work by “making the disability benefits process more fair, efficient and equitable.”

** “We will instruct the Defense and State departments to develop a strategy for determining when contracting makes sense, and when certain functions are ‘inherently governmental’ and should not be contracted out.”

** “We will modernize our foreign assistance  policies, tools, and operations in an elevated, empowered, consolidated, and streamlined U.S. development agency.”

** “. . . we will ask all Americans to be actively involved in meeting the challenges of the new century. . . We will use the Internet to better match volunteers to service opportunities.”
 
** “We should fix the dysfunctional immigration bureaucracy. . . “

** “We will fix governmental agencies like the Federal Emergency Management Agency, ensure that they are staff with professionals, and create integrated communication and response plans.”

These commitments are supplemented by candidate Obama’s fairly direct statement in his convention acceptance speech:

“I will also go through the federal budget line by line, eliminating programs that no longer work and making the ones we do need work better and cost less, because we cannot meet 21st-century challenges with a 20th-century bureaucracy.”

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One Response to “Government Reform: Democratic Platform”

  1. Norman M.Macdonald Says:

    Minus the boiler plate this seems close to the mark. I would suggest a stong statement supporting field units establishing collaborative organizatios with local entities. The idea of a Chief Technology Officer sounds scary and counter to to some of the stated goals. Hope this goes through I’m doing it from a OLPC developed at MIT.

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