Obama Wants 'Smarter' Government to Deliver Services to Citizens More Efficiently (VIDEO)
President Barack Obama met with reporters after a cabinet meeting in a televised press conference and laid out his plan for a "smarter" and "more innovative" government for the remainder of his term and beyond, reports USA Today.
At a time when polls find that approval ratings of the government as a whole are at a record low President Obama hopes that by reorganizing and modernizing how things are done in Washington he can turn things around.
"We've made some good progress on all fronts," President Obama said. "But we need to do more."
President Obama has chosen his budget director, Sylvia Matthews-Burwell, "to develop an aggressive management agenda for my second term that delivers a smarter, more innovative and accountable government for its citizens," according to the Washington Post.
"Dealing with the federal government is not always high tech and is not always user friendly," President Obama said. "Over the past four and a half years we worked diligently to change that."
President Obama spoke fondly about how he had visited the Google offices in Mountain View while campaigning in 2008 and his desire to mold the government into an entity that worked in a similar fashion. After joking about how the federal government was so backwards that they barely allowed him to keep his Blackberry President Obama outlined specific changes he is hoping to make.
There are three areas that the administration will focus on in order to modernize the government. First, they want to find ways to deliver the services that citizens already expect from the government in faster and more efficient ways. Specifically, President Obama cites the response to Hurricane Sandy by FEMA as an example of where this has worked.
Secondly, the government intends to find ways to alleviate waste within the government to streamline processes and save money.
"Just by working to get rid of overlapping IT systems," President Obama said. "We have identified more than $2.5 billion in savings across the federal government, and that's just the beginning."
In order to further save money the president said that they would look into government programs in order to eliminate ones that are duplicated or no longer needed.
Lastly, the president announced that the government has taken vast amounts of data and placed it on the Internet for free. More than 75,000 datasets can be downloaded from data.gov ranging from weather readings to what hospitals charge. The idea behind this is that the American people can use that data in a way to solve various problems on their own in a way that the government was unable to do so.
President Obama hopes that he will be able to show leadership in finding ways to modernize the government without receiving too much blowback from Congress, reports USA Today.
"We, the people, realize this government belongs to us," President Obama said. "It's up to each and every one of us to make it work better."