Fixing the Government

For indispensable reporting on the coronavirus crisis, the election, and more, subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily newsletter.


How can Congress make the government work better? The Project on Government Oversight (POGO) has released a list of a dozen solid ideas:

  1. Pass Whistleblower Protection Law
  2. Create an Independent Audit Agency
  3. Improve Economic Recovery Efforts
  4. Put the Teeth Back in Financial Regulatory Agencies
  5. Uncover the Hidden Costs of Privatizing Government
  6. Ensure Taxpayers Get Their Fair Share of Revenues from Royalty Collection
  7. Increase Government Accountability and Transparency
  8. End Wasteful Defense Spending
  9. Make Government Watchdog Organizations More Accountable
  10. Drag the Nuclear Complex Out of the Cold War, and Ensure Oversight of Lab Contractors
  11. Disclose Conflicts of Interest in Scientific Research
  12. And of Course: Fix the Broken Federal Contracting System

My favorite idea of the bunch is probably the second one, an independent audit agency. The great thing about spending more money on auditors is that auditors catch enough waste and fraud that the increased funding tends to pay for itself, plus some. But government auditors are too dependent on the agencies and departments they’re supposed to be monitoring. “As a result,” POGO explains, “auditors’ findings have been ignored or altered, and in some cases have resulted in retaliation or demotion.” An independent audit agency wouldn’t have that problem. It would be respected—and feared. And when it comes to worrying about being audited, putting a little fear into government agencies is probably a good thing.

Anyway, the whole list is worth checking out—especially if you’re a member of Congress looking for some good reforms to support.

DEMOCRACY DOES NOT EXIST...

without free and fair elections, a vigorous free press, and engaged citizens to reclaim power from those who abuse it.

In this election year unlike any other—against a backdrop of a pandemic, an economic crisis, racial reckoning, and so much daily crazy—Mother Jones' journalism is driven by one simple question: Will America will move closer to, or further from, justice and equity in the years to come?

If you're able to, please join us in this mission with a donation today. Our reporting right now is focused on voting rights and election security, corruption, disinformation, racial and gender equity, and the climate crisis. We can’t do it without the support of readers like you, and we need to give it everything we've got between now and November. Thank you.

DEMOCRACY DOES NOT EXIST...

without free and fair elections, a vigorous free press, and engaged citizens to reclaim power from those who abuse it.

In this election year unlike any other—against a backdrop of a pandemic, an economic crisis, racial reckoning, and so much daily crazy—Mother Jones' journalism is driven by one simple question: Will America will move closer to, or further from, justice and equity in the years to come?

If you're able to, please join us in this mission with a donation today. Our reporting right now is focused on voting rights and election security, corruption, disinformation, racial and gender equity, and the climate crisis. We can’t do it without the support of readers like you, and we need to give it everything we've got between now and November. Thank you.

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our newsletters

Subscribe and we'll send Mother Jones straight to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate