The question that I’d ask at the impeachment hearings…

“What would you say exactly … you do here at Initech?”

The hearings have been so predictable and dull that — when I’ve been watching — I’ve played the game “What would I ask?”.

Yesterday, I watched some of the testimony of Laura Cooper — the deputy assistant secretary of defense for Russia, Ukraine and Eurasia.

Ms. Cooper seems like a serious, well-intended government bureaucrat.  I don’t have a beef with her specifically.

But, she prefaced several of her answers with a couple of recurring phrases: “My staff does that; “I’d have to ask my staff”; “that’s outside my purview”; etc.

Her answers flashed me back to a classic scene in the movie Office Space.

It’s only a minute long and worth the time … guaranteed: it’ll change the way you watch the hearings

click to view

When interviewing a “customer specifications analyst”, a pair of efficiency experts — the Bobs — laser in on the most fundamental question…


“What would you say exactly … you do here at Initech?”

When watching the hearings, just substitute the words “the US government” for “Initech” and you’ll see what I’m getting at.

All of the witnesses:

  • Seem to have very narrow specialties.
  • The specialties seem to be duplicated in several departments.
  • The specialists in each of the departments seem to spend a lot of time in meetings, on the phone and at dinners … often with each other, honing their groupthink.
  • Nobody seems to have authority to actually do anything other than generate make-work for their staffs.
  • All seem to have locked up government paychecks and benefits for life.

May just be me, but the words “bloat”, “inefficiency” and “ineffectiveness” keep popping in my mind.

Where are the Bobs when you need them?


Follow on Twitter @KenHoma

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