Sen. Coburn Offers To Put An Outdated Agency Out Of Its Misery With His 'Let Me Google That For You' Bill
from the microsoft-now-hastily-composing-angry-response-letters dept
No entity highlights the ridiculous amount of bureaucratic inefficiency and ineptitude of government agencies better than the Government Accountability Office (GAO). Its reports are loaded with the sort of damning evidence that would lead those unfamiliar with how government actually works to assume that heads will be rolling. In reality, the agencies investigated by the GAO soldier on from scathing report to scathing report with little to no sign of improvement.
Tom Coburn, a long-time combatant of government waste and fraud who publishes a yearly report exposing the worst of worst in terms of senseless government spending (the "Wastebook") is now using the GAO's own words to craft a bill targeting the money pit that is the National Technical Information Service (NTIS).
Here's the leadup:
(3) NTIS is tasked with collecting and distributing government-funded scientific, technical, engineering, and business-related information and reports.And here's the punchline:
(4) GAO found that NTIS sold only 8 percent of the 2,500,000 reports in its collection between 1995 and 2000.
(5) A November 2012 GAO review of NTIS made the following conclusions:
(A) 'Of the reports added to NTIS's repository during fiscal years 1990 through 2011, GAO estimates that approximately 74 percent were readily available from other public sources.'
(B) 'These reports were often available either from the issuing organization's website, the Federal Internet portal (http://www.USA.gov) or from another source located through a web search.'
(C) 'The source that most often had the report [GAO] was searching for was another website located through http://www.Google.com.'
(D) '95 percent of the reports available from sources other than NTIS were available free of charge.'
(6) No Federal agency should use taxpayer dollars to purchase a report from the National Technical Information Service that is available through the Internet for free.
SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.Someone had fun cranking out this "Short Title."
This Act may be cited as the 'Let Me Google That For You Act.'
As the bill points out, it was suggested by the Secretary of Commerce in 1999 that the NTIS would eventually outlive its usefulness. According to the GAO's 2012 findings, that sell-by date was reached more than a decade ago.
NTIS product expenditures exceeded revenues for 10 out of the past 11 fiscal years.The "Let Me Google That For You" Act calls for the repeal of the 1988 National Technical Information Act and the disbandment of the agency itself, with the redistribution of whichever of its duties are still deemed essential to the Commerce Department.
It's not often you get the chance to watch an extraneous government agency be put down and even rarer still under a snarky, incisive, short title. This is for the best. As we've seen all too frequently, time marches on, swiftly distancing itself from the glacial pace of government innovation.