September 25, 2003

Wanted: a Department of Anarchy III

Jennifer Roback Morse has an interesting article on NRO outlining 10 ideas for the next Governor of California. What interests me right now is #8:

8. Create a California Sunset Commission that would systematically review the continued relevance and performance achievements of 20 percent of all state programs annually.

As the kids would say, "Duh."

This is my previously advocated Department of Anarchy in another form. One improvement I would make is that the Department/Commission should be required to issue one of three ratings:

1. The program has improved the problem it was created to solve. The consequences of this would be a continuation of policy

2. The program has neither improved nor made the problem worse. The consequences of this would be an automatic five year process for sunsetting the program. A simple legislative majority would be able to override this judgment.

3. The program has actually made the problem worse. The consequences of this rating would be a two year sunset in order to give time to create a better answer and redeploy resources in a way that wouldn't make things even worse. Again, the legislature could (but why would they?) override the recommendation through the normal legislative process.

By creating an institution devoted to not only evaluating the quality of government solutions but also armed with the power to do something about it, we'd reverse the ratchet effect of stupid government solutions creating pressure for further government intervention and pouring good money after bad down the rathole.

Posted by TMLutas at September 25, 2003 01:19 PM