Sunday, January 11, 2009

Getting lost when there is too much input ...

The possibilities for the internet to facilitate outreach and inclusion excite me.  In the US, the new administration is using social networking tools to gather input and allow dialogue.  Except there are thousands of ideas and I have some and have just spent 30 minutes trying to figure out where my input should go and how to actually post.  And then it would be somewhere down around 3000 on a list.  Who would read that far?  And I understand networks are using outreach tools to boost favorite ideas to the top of the list.

So here is this wonderful tool being used to disadvantage outliers.  

I have given up and am therefore here posting two ideas about fiscal economies.  I’d like to be able to submit these formally to the person recently appointed to do a full spending review of budget and spending.  CPO, chief performance officer, is a position covering federal government budgeting and reform.  Nancy Killefer was former assistant secretary of the treasury in the Clinton Administration.  Her boss is White House budget chief Peter Orszag.
First, I think there could be a suggestion program, a bit more formal than commenting on blogs.  Just as there are now mechanisms to comment on, for instance, health care, I'd like to have a place to make suggestions about government efficiencies, ways to conserve and consolidate.  Sometimes end-users of services and programs have straightforward ideas about reducing complexities and layers of bureaucracy.  Submitters of adopted ideas could earn points, privileges, invitations, even dollars.  Or there could be contests between geographic Assembly Districts, which could save the most.

A suggestion that occurs to me is to combine certain letter carrier and census taker functions.  Letter carriers are familiar with their routes, know every residence.  In conjunction with the 2010 census, the Census Bureau is hiring contract workers to verify residential addresses.  It seems to me that letter carriers could be offered a voluntary overtime day and could each do their own route very efficiently.

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