Rebuilding Morale in DC

At the Washington Monthly, John Donahue and Max Stier argue that some of government’s most intractable problems remain so because they’re in the hands of the worst-run agencies. Fixing them will take high-level commitment:

In many European and Asian countries the high status of public service helps offset modest financial rewards. But in the U.S., decades of bureaucrat bashing have exacerbated the economic factors and driven away untold thousands of talented Americans who might have tolerated lower compensation if abuse hadn’t been part of the package. Celebrating private enterprise and denigrating bureaucracy run deep in America’s political DNA. Some recent administrations have viewed federal organizations and the workers who staff them with something approaching contempt. Others have made at least some efforts to improve how federal agencies operated. But it has been a long time since federal workers had a real champion in the White House. No president since John F. Kennedy (some would argue since Theodore Roosevelt) has been willing to spend much political capital to improve the human capital that constitutes the core of the federal government.

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