Letter: Reforming government
If you are looking for nonpartisan solutions to our government’s problems, Phillip Howard, founder of the Common Good, has five pertinent recommendations.
Mr. Howard recently published a short book, “The Rule of Nobody,” an excellent synopsis on the systematic failings within the U.S. government. He is not anti-government. I have 34 years, direct work experience within the government and I can say that Mr. Howard is spot on. In short and sweet terms, he recommends five amendments to the U.S. Constitution:
1. The Twenty-Eighth Amendment would impose a mandatory sunset so that all laws and programs with budgetary impact would automatically expire every 15 years, and could not be re-enacted without new findings and a report from an independent commission.
2. The Twenty-Ninth Amendment would restore to the president authority to manage the executive branch more actively by issuing executive orders, subject to congressional override, to reorganize agencies, veto specific items in proposed budgets, and impound money to avoid waste.
3. The Thirtieth Amendment would restore to the president authority to manage and terminate government personnel, subject only to budgetary guidelines and a neutral hiring protocol to avoid handing out jobs as “spoils.”
4. The Thirty-First Amendment would restore reliability to American civil justice by requiring judges to safeguard reasonable boundaries of who can sue for what.
5. The Thirty-Second Amendment would create an independent Council of Citizens to evaluate and issue reports on the workings of government. The purpose of this recommendation to try keep the government in touch with the needs of the people.
Mr. Howard has a free, participatory website at www.commongood.org. If you are truly interested in reforming government, in a civil, nonpartisan way, the book and the website provide a good beginning.