10-10-14 – Measure Government Outcome

by Frank Mazur

A few months ago, Rep. Paul Ryan, former GOP candidate for Vice President, offered a thoughtful strategy giving the anti-poverty programs a new direction.  These programs, which were proposed by President Johnson, funneled money to states and municipalities to reduce poverty.  Data now shows despite the infusion of trillions of dollars, poverty hasn’t changed but entitlements and dependency on government has increased.

Ryan’s approach funds block grants to states but it expects work requirements and time limits for aid.  States would provide help to recipients and progress would be measured.   Programs would be focused on recipients becoming more independent rather on “hand-outs” with creative solutions developed at the state and municipal level, not Washington.

There hasn’t been a public debate on Ryan’s proposal.  For too long, federal programs have been funded on measurable data that tell how many people they’re serving but nowhere is it reported on how well we are improving their lives.

It’s time for change…not only on the federal level but also at the state and municipal level.  The private sector strives to create incentives to deliver outcomes at lower costs thereby producing the highest return on investment.  Can you imagine if municipal governments funded departments based on demonstrated successes and not on promises of success?

I applaud Ryan for his approach.  It’s time we budget to improve outcomes which challenge the status quo.  This will require more investment in technology, thinking outside the box, and advance collaboration to do more with less.  The alternative isn’t acceptable.

– Frank Mazur is the former chairman of the Vermont House Transportation Committee and a former member of the Ethan Allen Institute board of directors. 

 

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Ivan Smith October 10, 2014 at 10:57 pm

“The private sector strives to create incentives to deliver outcomes at lower costs thereby producing the highest return on investment.”

Except in health care finance and delivery.

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