Government expert will roll out his election-year argument for reorganizing the federal government in a major way.

The White House
Photo Caption: Philip Rozenski / Getty Images

Joe Biden left the recent Democratic convention with the nomination and a “build-back-better” plan for clean energy, new jobs, closing the racial wealth gap, and economic renewal. He also left with the 110-page Biden-Sanders plan to restore President Trump’s budget cuts, reverse his regulatory rollbacks, attack corporate greed, combat the climate crisis, confront COVID-19, pursue environmental justice, repair the infrastructure, create jobs, and raise the minimum wage.

Missing from the agenda – of both the Democratic and Republican parties – is an equally ambitious commitment to the bureaucratic repairs that animated Jimmy Carter’s successful 1976 presidential campaign.

In an original six-part series for The Brookings Institution that begins on Wednesday, September 23, Paul C. Light, the Paulette Goddard Professor of Public Service at New York University’s Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service, will make the case for a “fix-government-fast” reform agenda. The series is set to begin on Wednesday, September 23, on the website of The Brookings Institution where Light is a nonresident senior fellow.

In his first post, Light will examine the recent history of government breakdowns. Americans have come to their distrust of government performance because of one highly visible breakdown after another over the last 30 years.  His second post, on Sept. 28, will examines the public’s appetite for major government reform. Although the demand is linked to party differences, ideology, and demographics, it is also driven by public beliefs that the federal government is almost always wasteful and inefficient, does a poor job running its programs, and is run by a few big interests looking out for themselves.

The third post – on September 30 – will discuss declining public support for Trump’s “burn-the-house-down” vision of major government reform, and the fourth, on October 5, will look at recent trends in bureaucratic bloat at the top of the federal hierarchy.

The fifth post on October 7 will review the true size of the federal workforce in light of the Trump administration’s promises to winnow the bureaucratic bloat, freeze and cut federal employment, and promise to “cut so much your head will spin, and the sixth, on October 12, will ask whether Congress and the president’s budget office still have the expertise—let alone the motivation—to craft the sweeping reforms needed to rebuild public confidence in federal performance. Neither institution has undertaken a major reorganization for decades, and America is now a half-century from the last major civil service repair.

Light’s concluding post on October 14 will provide a short inventory of proposals that might give a future president a fighting chance at substantial government reform. The list starts with a nod to former President Carter, the last president to put government reform at the center of an administration.

To interview Paul Light, please contact the NYU press officer listed with this release.

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