The federal government is currently enmeshed in two gigantic, expensive reform projects, one domestic and one foreign. Both are failures even though the tactics couldn’t be more different. In one — at a cost of $2.5 trillion — Uncle Sam is trying manfully to completely change a political culture.
In the other — at just under $1 trillion — Uncle Sugar won’t touch the culture. What is the same, and the ultimate source of failure, is the obstinate refusal of project architects to recognize their strategy isn’t working now and won’t be working in the future.
We’ll begin with the relatively cheap failure. Since 1980 the Dept. of Education has spent $872,519,440,000 on just primary and secondary education. The scores from the latest nationwide ACT college admission test are so bad that to forestall criticism of the entire effort, the focus has been shifted to the old perennial: The