The Case for a Re-org of the Executive Branch
By Arnold Kling
As an example of careless organizational structure, consider that prior to the financial crisis the Federal Reserve Board was responsible for consumer protection with respect to mortgages, while the Department of Housing and Urban Development was responsible for the safety and soundness of the nation’s two largest financial institutions, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. As far as the core missions of the two agencies are concerned, it should have been the other way around. It seems likely that HUD would have been more institutionally inclined to police sub-prime mortgage lending, while the Fed would have been more careful about scrutinizing risk practices at the housing giants. Holding all else constant, such a simple and obvious re-organization of responsibilities might have been sufficient to prevent most or even all of the disaster that ensued.
What I propose is a wholesale re-organization of the executive branch of government. This is something that has obvious efficiency benefits. However, those would tend to be long term. Meanwhile, the political costs would be felt in the short term. So it is unlikely to take place.
More plausible would be a “virtual re-organization” in which the President treats the departments as if they were organized along the lines that I propose. For example, the Secretary of Education could be put in charge of “economic opportunity” and give the authority to assemble a team of managers from other departments to coordinate all policies and programs aimed at improving economic opportunity.
Yes, I know, you want to abolish most of these functions and agencies altogether. The re-organization idea is a much more moderate proposal. That may be another reason that it stands no chance in today’s environment.
Still, if you read the entire essay, it is rather out-of-the-box, no?