Why We Need to Grade Our Governments (Again)
An exceptional project from the past illustrates how beneficial measuring public-sector performance can be.
Paul L. Posner, who died July 5, 2017, was director of the public-administration program at George Mason University. He also was a former president of the American Society for Public Administration.
Posner served for many years with the U.S. Government Accountability Office, where he was managing director for federal budget and intergovernmental relations, leading GAO's work on the long-term federal budget outlook and emerging challenges for public-sector finances at all levels of government.
Posner was the author of "The Politics of Unfunded Mandates,", published in 1998, and was the winner of the 2008 Martha Derthick Best Book Award given by the Section on Federalism and Intergovernmental Management of the American Political Science Association. He received his Ph.D. in political science from Columbia University.
Our state and local governments vary greatly in their capacity to address urgent public needs. Shouldn't we be talking about this issue?
We need a forum for our state, local and federal governments to collaborate on the fiscal challenges they all face. But in today's fiscal climate, it's hard to see that happening.
Analysis of long-term government commitments such as pensions is important, but overly rigid funding rules are a formula for intergenerational conflict.
As funding from Washington makes its way to the service-delivery level, it follows a complex path. We need a better understanding of where it goes and how it's used.