Actually the White House budget director gives a very sound and reasonable explanation:
A big reason why the government is inefficient and ineffective is because Washington has outdated technology, with federal workers having better computers at home than in the office.
This startling admission came Thursday from Peter Orszag, who manages the federal bureaucracy for President Barack Obama.
The public is getting a bad return on its tax dollars because government workers are operating with outdated technologies, Orszag said in a statement that kicked off a summit between Obama and dozens of corporate CEOs.
“Twenty years ago, people who came to work in the federal government had better technology at work than at home,” said Orszag, director of the Office of Management and Budget. “Now that’s no longer the case.
We are in the technological age and the fact that the government hasn’t kept up is really troubling. From a monetary stand point, it costs a lot more to keep the old systems up and running than it does to upgrade. This is one of the great things about President Obama – he has embraced technology and open source. Going to open source solutions in the government will save hundreds of millions over time. Imagine the government not having to pay for Windows software anymore, instead getting the much more secure open source software that is freely available on the web. Not only that, but imagine the government being able to take that code and tailoring it to their exact needs.
Of course the right isn’t buying into this:
Go to USASpending.gov and click on the “Spending” tab, then from the drop-down menu that appears, click on “Contracts.” Then in the search box, enter the word “Computer” with or without the quotation marks.
The first time I entered it without the quotation marks and got back a list of 447 companies having the word “Computer” in their names and that have contracts to sell to the federal government in 2009. Total value of those contracts is more than $46 billion.
That’s right, $46 B-I-L-L-I-O-N. So, if OMB Director Orzag is right, Uncle Sam spent $46 billion with computer companies last year but couldn’t drag itself into the 21st century of office technology?
Yes and a lot of that goes to keeping antiquated systems running. They do exist and I know it, since I work on some of them. As an example, go out and try to buy memory for a 10 year old computer. You will end up paying 3-4 times as much as you would for a 3 year old computer.
Then there is the software angle. The amount of data our government processes grows daily at mind boggling rates. To keep out-dated software able to handle such a growing load requires a huge investment in development, where as a newer, more powerful processor can make the processing of the data very light work.
Spend the money now and bring the government into the 21st century, then we will start saving money down the road. A good idea to do that is to put government computers on a 5 year replacement cycle. They can then take the old computers and ship them off to the schools around the nation so they aren’t becoming landfill. Now our country is running on more cutting-edge technology, while our educational system also benefits. It’s a win-win situation that will save this country billions in the long run.