Op-Ed

PrintPrint EmailEmail ShareShare CiteCite
Style:MLAAPAChicagoClose

loading...

Can Government Play Moneyball?

Authors: Peter R. Orszag, Adjunct Senior Fellow, and John Bridgeland
July/August 2013
Atlantic Monthly

Share

Based on our rough calculations, less than $1 out of every $100 of government spending is backed by even the most basic evidence that the money is being spent wisely. As former officials in the administrations of Barack Obama (Peter Orszag) and George W. Bush (John Bridgeland), we were flabbergasted by how blindly the federal government spends. In other types of American enterprise, spending decisions are usually quite sophisticated, and are rapidly becoming more so: baseball's transformation into "moneyball" is one example. But the federal government—where spending decisions are largely based on good intentions, inertia, hunches, partisan politics, and personal relationships—has missed this wave.

Allow us to share some behind-the-scenes illustrations of what our crazy system of budgeting looks like—and to propose how the lessons of moneyball could make our government better.

When one of us (Peter) began his tenure as the director of the Congressional Budget Office in 2007, he took a Willie Sutton approach to the nation's huge and growing fiscal mess: he went after health care, which makes up roughly a quarter of the federal government's spending, because that's where the money is.

View full text of article.

More on This Topic

Interview

Turkey's Rising Mideast Role

In a region buffeted by change, Turkey is developing into a Middle East model and leader. Cooperation on Kurdish separatists and on a NATO...

Op-Ed

Arab Spring, Turkish Fall

Author: Steven A. Cook
Foreign Policy

Steven A. Cook argues that at a moment of unprecedented change in the Middle East, Turkey is falling far short of being a regional leader.