Move the Senate to Alaska and the House to Miami
In an e-mail group discussion about the recent announcement by Rep. Jason Chaffetz of Utah that the federal government should move agencies out of DC to be closer to the people ("Drain the swamp? No, let’s just move it, Rep. Chaffetz suggests," Washington Post), the best comment all day was:
Move the Senate to Alaska and the House to Miami (and leave the agencies in Washington)What Washington Gets Wrong: The Unelected Officials Who Actually Run the Government and Their Misconceptions about the American People, and I saw a presentation by the authors on Book TV.
The authors suggest moving agencies out of Washington to "get them closer to the people."
The response during the program, by public policy professor Donald Kettl politely eviscerated their argument.
Basically, we're not looking for "folk wisdom" to make and effectuate policy and regulation. Moving the agencies out into the rest of the country won't improve outcomes.
What about the agencies that are located outside of the Washington metropolitan area now (Social Security Administration and Center for Medicare Services are in Baltimore County; National Geospatial Intelligence Agency is in St. Louis; various military bases are located all across the national; federal research labs are mostly located outside of the DC area, etc.)
Agglomeration economies will be lost because connections and proximity between agencies will be discombobulated.
But since Congress isn't all that effective, why not move them, and leave the rest of the federal government here?
Labels: government organization