1.4 - NATIONAL PERFORMANCE REVIEW
In March 1993, President Clinton announced an initiative to "reinvent government" called The National Performance Review (NPR). In Vice President Gore's Third Report of the NPR (1996), the following statement is made in Chapter 1:
"If you're a citizen, you ought to be able to expect good services from your government. If you run a business, you ought to be able to expect reasonable treatment by regulators — treatment that meets legitimate public needs without crushing yours. And as a taxpayer, you ought to be able to expect that the government, acting as your trustee, is managing your tax dollars wisely. And the federal government shouldn't expect applause when it finally straightens things out to give the American people this kind of treatment.
"But the point is, this has never happened before. Despite 11 major exercises in government reform this century, there's been little lasting change."
The 1994 report went on to note that federal spending exceeds 23 percent of the economy, and that the Department of Health and Human Services, the Department of Defense, and the Department of the Treasury each spend three times annually what America's largest corporation, General Motors,1 takes in revenue.
Chapter 4 of the 1994 report of the NPR notes that because the 1993 agreement between the Administration and Congress will keep spending tight for the foreseeable future, the federal government must find ways to spend the money it has more effectively. The situation requires, in essence, a new philosophy of governing that places a premium on cost-effectiveness. In a section on red ink, the report states, in part:
"What the government needs, then, is a new, more efficient way to deliver basic services. ... A key element in the revised deficit forecasts are [sic] strict new caps on annual spending."...
This Chapter concludes:
"Forced to do better — to provide improved customer service at lower costs — agencies and employees need the management principles and philosophies embedded in From Red Tape to Results and this year's anniversary update (1993 and 1994 references noted above). They contain the key to effective governing, the method of performing within the box of fiscal constraint."
The latest NPR reports for 1996 are benchmarking studies, which include industry participation and deal with resolving customer complaints.
1Budget of the United States Government: Fiscal Year
1995, p. 157