A Government Ill Executed: The Decline of the Federal Service and how to Reverse it

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Harvard University Press, 2008 - History - 278 pages
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Hear commentary by Paul Light on why young, talented workers are steering clear of jobs in the federal government (from National Public Radio).

The federal government is having increasing difficulty faithfully executing the laws, which is what Alexander Hamilton called ‚eoethe true test‚e of a good government. This book diagnoses the symptoms, explains their general causes, and proposes ways to improve the effectiveness of the federal government. Employing Hamilton‚e(tm)s seven measures of an energetic federal service, Paul Light shows how the government is wanting in each measure.

After assessing the federal report card, Light offers a comprehensive agenda for reform, including new laws limiting the number of political appointees, reducing the layers of government management, reducing the size of government as its baby-boom employees retire, revitalizing the federal career, and reducing the heavy outsourcing of federal work. Although there are many ways to fix each of the seven problems with government, only a comprehensive agenda will bring the kind of reform needed to reverse the overall erosion of the capacity to faithfully execute all the laws.

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For the Public Benefit
Clarity of Command
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About the author (2008)

Paul Light is the Douglas Dillon Senior Fellow and founding director of the Center for Public Service at the Brookings Institution. His books include Vice-Presidential Power: Advice and Influence in the White House, also available from Johns Hopkins.

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