Posted by: nuleadership | January 24, 2011

Impending Danger

 

The start of a new year brings new hopes and aspirations. Sadly, it could signal another year of the same mindset.  With a new U.S. Congress in place, many taxpayers see the same old partisan politics. Yet, the serious conditions of our nations require shared vision and cooperation.  Our nation reached a notorious milestone with the government debt at all-time high of $14 trillion. 

If a visitor from outer space came to America, the alien would probably discern that most citizens believe that the US government system is ineffective, the employees incompetent, and the system broken. Clearly, our federal government possesses significant structural weaknesses and problems. However, the federal government workforce is highly competent and talented. Yet, my experience demonstrates that the dearth of good leadership is the biggest problem in the federal government.

I should know much about this situation. I have worked in the federal government over 20 years.  In fact, I have conducted extensive research on organizational effectiveness in the public sector.  Dr. Gary Roberts (Interim Dean of the School of Government) and I have spent several years on the issues facing the government sector. Some of this research was captured in our new book, Impending Danger.  The book analyzes the current problems in the federal system and explains why a new paradigm, in leadership and structure, is necessary.

With growing discontent with government officials and the intrusion of big government into personal affairs, Americans are demanding something different. Therefore, government leaders must recognize that many Americans are unsatisfied with the status quo. This outright anger and outrage speaks to individuals not getting their voices heard by political leaders. This revelation may signal a significant flaw in elected and appointed federal leadership.

What market drivers will change how the federal government operates and how do you infuse a different type of leadership beyond partisan politics?

© 2011 by Daryl D. Green

 

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Responses

  1. As we continue to sink into unthinkable debt our elected government officials have continued to live comfortably well, considering those they represent have been taking most of the hits. According to current research the only solution for the economy is for the government to “Get out of the way!” While the government continues to spend huge amounts of money, we as citizens are not able to get back on our feet. According to Curtis Coleman he goes on to support Scott Granis, “A far better approach to stimulate the economy would be to permanently increase the incentives to work, save, and invest. That means making permanent the tax cuts on labor and capital, or at the very least no tax hikes, especially on the fraction of the labor force that is the most productive. Government officials need to step aside and we need to elect those who can identify with our needs and who have been through our tracks.

    References:
    Coleman, Curtis & Granis, Scott (2010). What the Government Can Do to Help the Economy. Retrieved from: http://031331b.netsolhost.com/blog1/2010/09/08/what-the-government-can-do-to-help-the-economy-get-out-of-the-way/

    • Riyam, excellent points!

      How does the federal debt influence how the government operates?

      • Thank you Riyam for your insightful comments. Clearly we must increase private sector investment. However, there are great needs related to our infrastructure (roads, bridges, high speed rail, tunnels, interent access, etc.). Who should pay for these?

  2. Partisan politics will never end. There are too many people making too much money (i.e. lobbyists) in addition to the mass number jobs the government provides. It’s like the war on drugs, the government will never “win” it because it employees too many people and generates too much money. Most people only care about what the federal government does in bad economic times. In good economic times the majority of individuals could care less. An example would be recent elections this past November with record numbers turning out at the polls.
    Drivers that will continue to affect how the government operates are unemployment, inflation, tax code issues, healthcare, poor currency, and the start of Obama’s upcoming re-election campaign. Unemployment is on everyone’s mind with the upcoming State of the Union address tonight but also because last month alone unemployment rose is 20 states, fell in 15 states and remained unchanged in another 14 states (Rugaber, 2011). While economists do expect hiring to pick up in 2011, unemployment is expected to remain relatively high (Rugaber, 2011).

    Works Cited
    Rugaber, C. S. (2011, January 25). Politics on msnbc.com. Retrieved January 25, 2011, from MSN.Com: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/41253585/ns/politics/from/toolbar

    • Alexis, dynamic points!

      Here is the question based on your insight:

      Would the federal government operate any differently if one party controlled all branches?

      • I do not think the government would operate any better if one party controlled all branches. Infact, I think matters would be worse. Currently, if each party controls one portion then they fear being called out by the opposite party. For instance, the republicans calling out the democrates for over spending or the banter back and forth regarding this new healthcare reform. If one party has total control then that enables them to commit sins without accountability, or at least the fear of whistleblowing from the other side.

        In regards to market drivers, I read the following articles today that address government management and unemployment.

        http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/41275737/ns/business-eye_on_the_economy

        http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/41272983/ns/politics-more_politics

        http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/41263357/ns/politics

      • Alexis, interesting!

  3. Government debt also known as public debt, is money (or credit) owed by any level of government; either central government, federal government, municipal government or local government. By contrast, annual government deficit refers to the difference between government receipts and spending in a single year. Debt of a sovereign government is called sovereign debt. A broader definition of government debt considers all government liabilities, including future pension payments and payments for goods and services the government has contracted but not yet paid. It is a difficult time out there. Why save when you can have it all now and pay for it later?

    Is there a short-term solution the Treasury could use to buy some time for this growing debt problem? Yes, according to Rudolph Penner, the former director of the Congressional Budget Office, in past debt limit standoffs, the secretary of the Treasury has used temporary steps such as delaying deposit of Treasury bonds into federal employees’ retirement accounts (Curry). “It wouldn’t keep the system going for more than a couple of months. Ultimately you would need an increase in the debt ceiling,” Penner said.

    References:

    Curry, Tom. (1/21/2011). Retrieved January 25, 2011 from msn.com: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/41158860/ns/politics/

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Government_debt

  4. If a national debt of $13.665 trillion and an unemployment rate of 9.4 percent on a national average, not to mention a 10 year war, won’t change how the federal government operates, nothing will. Republicans, democrats, it doesn’t matter, they’re both corrupt! The first step to the future is to eliminate these two parties. Without eliminating the black versus white mindset these parties bring, we will never see change. People get fixated on voting republican or democratic based upon the stereotypical beliefs they are associated with and fail hear to what the individuals actually stand for. This failure keeps the same individuals and mindsets in office for years. Ted Kennedy is a prime example of this; he served 46 years in the senate. Step two then, should be to set limits on the number of terms the house and senate can hold, such as two, to promote fresh thinking and ideas. Without taking these first two steps, I fear we will continue down a path of self destruction.

    References:

    January 7, 2011. Employment Situation Summary. U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. January 26, 2011.

    http://data.bls.gov/cgi-bin/print.pl/news.release/empsit.nr0.htm

    Knoller, Mark. October 18, 2010. National Debt Up $3 Trillion on Obama’s Watch. CBS News. http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-503544_162-20019931-503544.html

  5. As Dr. Green’s post notes, there is great dissatisfaction with the federal government. One of the great political divides of our time is the intense, polarizing and often rancorous debate over the proper size, role and scope of government. This debate occurs between and within those on all sides of the political spectrum. Irrespective of one’s opinion on this issue, there are three principles that those of good faith and reasoned intellect can agree upon. First, an efficient and effective government is essential, but a healthy society requires a limit to the size and scope of government to protect civil liberties and rights, encourage reasonable self reliance and initiative, and reduce unhealthy dependence on governmental support. Second, business is the primary engine of wealth creation, but regulation on the size and scope of the private sector is necessary to resist the formation of destructive monopolies, protect public health and safety and promote consumer interests. Third, our national and global problems in such areas as poverty, global security, health care, the environment, education, and job creation are too large and complex for any one sector. Effective governance requires a collaborative approach to the many intractable policy problems given limitations to knowledge, power, resources and the requisite moral and legal authority. Hence, both liberals and conservatives are placed in a reluctant but often overlooked position of agreement regarding the need for a vital and active nonprofit sector to provide services and forms of support that government and business are unable or unwilling to provide. From the Salvation Army, the Red Cross, and Habitat for Humanity to community museums and symphony orchestras, nonprofits address a range of human needs from the most basic to the sublime. Hence, one of the solutions to the weaknesses in federal government capacity is a more dynamic partnership with the nonprofit sector, both secular and faith-based

    • Dr. Robert,

      I want to thank you for being our guest blogger. With all of the partisan politic, you raise an interesting thought:
      ” Effective governance requires a collaborative approach to the many intractable policy problems given limitations to knowledge, power, resources and the requisite moral and legal authority.”

    • I agree about a tiered gov’t system: burden is shared by non-profits and the people. The government realizes that Americans are unsatisfied, do they care? We have lost our trust in our government. It’s time for people to be proactive. It is necessary for gov. to listen to the people, which currently is a mirage. We see this in companies with poor organizational performance employing managers that don’t know how to manage people. Top management tier does not listen to what people are saying on “street” level. Listening to the people is a “sideshow” as in Joe the Plummer during the last presidential campaign…..acting like it is unique that an average American citizen was “heard.” We want a distributive form of justice. Americans can’t be afraid to get involved in government. We must prepare to take part of the responsibility of governing as in Mary Follett’s cross functioning of citizens and leadership. Nationalization of banks & Health industries, fair tax, global mentality, will change the way feds operate. Where will the funding come from for a tiered system….doled out by the feds or raised by the churches and non-profits after the feds have collected our taxes?

      http://www.fairtax.org/site/PageServer?pagename=about_main

      http://money.cnn.com/pf/taxes/index.html

      • Heidi, great points!

        Can we get trust back?

      • We can only hope trust will return. Without hope there could be total anarchy, so far so good, but it is weak. People want to keep doing business as usual, approaching the gov’t in the same way. The few that speak up may get a wink then it is a “hurry up and wait” scenario while the gov’t goes about its business ethically or unethically.
        Thought must change in order to understand better how the paradigm has shifted and is no longer what it used to be. Global balance of power is more shared power balance. U.S.A. is not just at the top in a vertical system, but the U.S.A. is in the middle, being pulled on by the people on one side, and being pulled on by other (economically) powerful countries on the other side. In the middle position much of our government’s energies will be spent trying to please/appease, not just the people of this country but also to keep other powerful countries happy.
        We must understand the new system, figure out how to fit into it to share the burden of governing. Diversity is imperative. Develop an operating process that is results driven. Then trust might return.

  6. We the people of this nation being market drivers can change how the federal government operates!
    I personally am not a politician but at this point in time it’s going to have to start with us… the people of the nation. This includes people all over the world and not just in the United States. We as a society need to take time and the initiative to innovate a proactive plan that will best suites the people as a whole nation and not of those that are in the higher authorities of congress.
    President Obama stated (February 2008 Election); “Change will not come if we wait for some other person or some other time. We are the ones we’ve been waiting for. We are the change that we seek.”
    President Lincoln, Abraham stated (American 16th US President (1861-65), who brought about the emancipation of the slaves. 1809-1865); “America will never be destroyed from the outside. If we falter and lose our freedoms, it will be because we destroyed ourselves.”
    The ways that we infuse a different type of leadership beyond partisan politics is by looking back at our current and past presidents and implement our strategy for our future.

    http://www.usa-patriotism.com/quotes/obama.htm

    http://www.usa-patriotism.com/quotes/lincoln.htm

  7. The individual parties must meet on common ground to address and resolve the crisis(s) in the energy industry and the technology infrastructure for the greater good of the American public. If party position is not put aside, we all suffer the consequences.

    Our government has appropriated $11 billion through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 to fund projects for “clean, efficient American energy.” Nationwide, electricity demand is forecasted to grow by 30% by 2030. However the electrical power grids that deliver the electricity by which we work, communicate and live are running up against their limitations, in the United States and around the globe. From power system security to global climate change, lawmakers, industry leaders and consumers agree that a rapid migration to a smarter grid is a top national and global priority (1).

    The voters must send ethical and loyal Americans to Washington to clean up the bureaucratic, over compensated, and over “tenured” congress and senate. The political leaders must represent the multi-generational culture, needs, and beliefs of the continuants; not the antiquated party brand names.

    (1)GRID2HOME, Inc. (2010). Why do we need a Smart Grid? Retrieved
    January 28, 2011 from http://grid2home.com/sg-market.html

    • Kim, a good eye opening remark!

      How do we foster common ground in these hot, political battles?

      • The American population must be better informed of the multiple hot spots across our country and demand solutions from our leaders. Our message, gained through active participation and huge voter turnout will shout our demands in Washington. We have demonstrated our ability to unify in tradgedy (9/11 and Katrina). As the current state of our nation is headed toward true tradgedy, a unified demand for correction from the voters can and should require a common ground approach among our leaders. If our elected leaders don’t perform, VOTE THEM OUT!

  8. Bipartisanship has been virtually non-existent in the past. However, officials are now showing intense focus on the needs of their constituents. For example, last week Senator Kent Contrad (D-North Carolina) announced that he would not seek reelection in order to focus efforts on regaining control of America’s ballooning debt (Easton, 2011). Furthermore, incumbents are realizing their political careers are in danger unless noticeable bipartisan political efforts are made. Doug Schoen (2010) recently stated, “Americans want bipartisanship and compromise. They want Obama and the Democrats to work with Republicans, and the way the new Republican leaders to work with Obama and the Democrats (Schoen 2010, paragraph 11).”
    Ultimately, American voters must correctly choose effective leaders. A common goal must be set and equal effort must be exerted for bipartisanship to exist. It will take charismatic, engaging and strong ethical leaders to achieve the common goal.

    References:

    Easton, N. (2011, January 20). Bipartisan debt control? Yes, it’s possible. Fortune.
    Retrieved from http://money.cnn.com/2011/01/20/news/economy/
    bipartisan_debt_control.fotrune/index.htm
    Schoen, D. (2010, December 07). Time for Dem to Relearn the Lost Art of Compromise. Fox News.
    Retrieved from http://www.foxnews.com/opinion/2010/12/07/time-dems-relearn-lost-art-
    compromise/

  9. I think that the global market place is the biggest driver of what will happen in the United States. Is what we are seeing now in the world a result of globalization? Many in the United States are not happy with what the elected officials and their mindsets used to fix problems and look at issues in a systematic way. It looks as if there are a lot of people around the world unhappy as well. Egypt an autocratic society is a good example of this. Are we getting ever closer to reaching the equilibrium point in the global market place where everyone’s piece of the pie is not big enough? In Canada, they are trying different approaches to get more people involved working together. The Government of Canada Fellows Program is an executive exchanges program between the federal public service and the business community, academia other levels of government. This new program offers Canadians an opportunity to share their experience and ideas with the federal government. (Young, 2007)
    Young, A.. (2007, October). Give the government a piece of your mind. CMA Management, 81(6), 50-51. Retrieved January 30, 2011, from ABI/INFORM Global. (Document ID: 1413432301).

  10. Dr. Roberts,

    Please allow me to thank you for joining us. It is a privilege and honor to have you! The breadth of knowledge that you bring to this forum is unrivaled.

    Daniel

  11. In the current economic environment, leaders and especially government must recognize the need for change in how business is operated. The key to change is effective leadership that recognizes and acknowledges what the people want in the federal government. With unemployment reaching 8.5% in 2009 and the loss of more than half a million workers a year, the federal government must step in with programs that provide stimulus to organizations and working individuals and not provide support to those who do not want to benefit this society (Reuss, 2009). The market drivers that can change how the federal government operates would be for citizens to demand better leadership. Companies need to be confident in investing in new equipment, technology for future growth and not feel the need to cut costs through increased layoffs and decrease of productions and services. When employees are let go from a company they in turn reduce spending and savings just to make their current expenditures for the household.

    Reuss, Alejandro. (2009). Fiscal policy and “crowding out”. Dollars & Sense, (282), 10-12. Retrieved January 29 from EBSCOhost.

    • Jennifer, excellent ideas!

      Leadership is vital!

  12. The strongest market driver is the people and, as they begin to awaken, they will be the catalyst for change. Once guided by trust, they accepted – at face value – the political rhetoric and propaganda of the day. However, now that our economic train has been derailed, over are the days of singing the same old tired songs. The people are no longer swayed by clever posturing, colorful language, and superficial policy perspectives. They demand accountability and, above all else, the truth – meaning, in essence, Washington’s impunity status has been revoked.

    At this point, unfortunately, the infusion of a different type of leadership will require a different leader. Governor Christopher Christie (R-New Jersey) is the epiphany of what our nation needs. His perspectives are not idiological; they are leveraged with logic. To his credit, Governor Christie has taken the administrative management approach, where he has studied “how to create an organizational structure and control system that leads to efficiency and effectivenesss” (George & Jones, 2009). The result: A unified, bipartisan effort to implement his agenda and restore fiscal order to an ailing state.

    Reference
    George, J. & Jones, G. (2009). Contemporary Management. (pp.48). New York, NY: McGraw-Hill/Irwin.

  13. Reiterating Riyam’s points, I too feel that for a market to thrive, the federal government must take a backseat. As pointed out by Mark Levin in his book, Liberty and Tyranny, “The Statist is constantly manipulating public sentiment in a steady effort to disestablish the free market, as he pushes the nation down tyranny’s road. He has built an enormous maze of government agencies and programs, which grow inexorably from year to year, and which intervene in and interfere with the free market .” If we look back at the housing bust of 2008, we can clearly see the affect government interference had on our economy, by the passing of various acts that required banks to allow loans to lower income individuals. These types of regulations prevent the free market from performing as it should. The government should take the simple mindset that is often stated in class, “less is more”.

    “Statist definition- The practice of giving a centralized government control over economic planning and policy.”

    Reference:
    Levin, Mark R. (2009). Liberty And Tyranny: A Conservative Manifesto. New York, NY: Threshold Editions.

  14. Partisan politics will probably always be the norm in Washington. Americans often find themselves on opposite sides of the political debate. While our greatest problem yet might still be looming and is a non-partisan issue. The book Impending Danger outlines the issues of a retiring workforce and the implications that it will have on American Citizens. While we can disagree over the issues, what we can’t disagree on is the fact that we will need a talented and skilled federal workforce to keep the government running. A 2008 Government Accountability Office study reports that over 60 percent of federal career executives will be retirement eligible by 2012. Some government agencies will be harder hit than others for example the Social Security Administration (SSA) faces a staggering 40% of its employees being retirement eligible by 2012, while demand for this particular agency’s services is on the rise. The SSA is addressing the impending retirement boom by paying recruitment and retention bonuses for hard to fill positions. This agency is also offering work place flexibility include flexible work schedules and alternative work sites. (GAO-08-630T, 2008.).

    References:
    Older Workers: GAO-08-630-T. (2008). GAO Reports, 1. Retrieved from EBSCOhost.

    • Keely, excellent!

      Will the impending danger ever come for America?

  15. I feel that the time line projections of this dramatic workforce change will slow due to the current economic conditions we are living in. With that being said I feel that once employees’ retirement funds rebound we will start to see the retirement boom begin.

  16. Trust is a cause as well as a consequence. While events affect public trust in government, trust shapes the limits of political possibilities. When trust is high, policy makers may reasonably hope to enact and implement federal solutions to our most pressing problems. When trust is low, as it is today and has been for much of the past few decades, policy makers face more constraints. “As leading scholar Marc Hetherington puts it, “Most Americans, whether conservative or liberal, do not trust the delivery vehicle for most progressive public policy. Even if people support progressive policy goals, they do not support the policies themselves because they do not believe that government is capable of bringing about desired outcomes.”
    While this may seem simple and obvious, “the reasons behind it are complex. They involve an understanding of social classes, the role of experts, the two-party system, and the history of the country, especially Southern slavery…”

    Marc J. Hetherington, Why Trust Matters: Declining Political Trust and the Demise of American Liberalism (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2005), p. 5.

    Wrong, D. (1995). Power: Its Forms, Bases, and Uses (2nd ed.). New Brunswick: Transaction Publishers

  17. Hello and Greetings, thank you kindly for reading and consideration of this comment. First off, the U.S. Government is only concerned with thenselves and the abillity to become wealthy by the blod, sweat and tears of the PEOPLE. Unfortunately, the PEOPLE are being deceived greatly into believing the Government will have the solutions to be a relief to all the dangers that are being faced from the past, to what is currenty presented and to a ‘possible’ future. What PEOPLE don’t relize is that those in power are merly puppets to the real power working in the elusive scenes. Now I’m no conspiracy theorist whn uses conjecture and random rhetoric to fullfill the need to create the ‘facts’ as it would be. I’m just a researcher and investigator in search for the truth, no matter how impossible and improbable it might be. The Government has relied on “NORMALCY BIAS” of the public to dismiss any real claim of an impending danger. Normalcy Bias is a psychological term which refers to a mental state when facing a disaster. It causes people to underestimate both the possibility of a disaster occurring and its possible effects. This often results in situations where people fail to adequately prepare for a disaster, and on a larger scale, the failure of the government to include the populace in its disaster preparations. The assumption that is made in the case of the normalcy bias is that since a disaster never has occurred then it never will occur. It also results in the inability of people to cope with a disaster once it occurs. People with a normalcy bias have difficulties reacting to something they have not experienced before. People also tend to interpret warnings in the most optimistic way possible, seizing on any ambiguities to infer a less serious situation. For example, if a man walking in any street in any city were to claim that the Messiah has arrived and I know who he is, will be dismissed as a crackpot. Many in the past have claim numerous events and been killed as heretics. What I’m getting at is, were the PEOPLE who warned of the impending danger in the U.S. heretics or crackpots when they knew of an attack. I guess the term complacency comes to mind before and after September 11th, 2001. Those who died in vain from a result of the complacency and Normalcy Bias of the public is made to repeat itself. You may say I’m paranoid, BUT, those 2996 souls lost don’t think so, neither does the victims’ families. So for once in YOUR lives, observe for yourelves and build an inerest in your own mind to decide what course should be taken, not the ones someone else lay out because that PERSON may be the one to set YOU up for failure, and in this case many will not be getting up from that fall!!!!!!!!

    • Thanks for your contribution!
      Dr. Daryl Green


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