Waste in the Stimulus Bill Process?
I try to keep apolitical here, so I'm not necessarily looking for discussion of what might be viewed as “waste” (meaning wasteful spending) in the “American Recovery and Reinvestment Act” bill that the House just approved. There are plenty of good political sites for that (often clusters of like-minded folks on the left or the right without much debate). I guess the Lean Blog is a cluster of folks who like or agree with Lean principles, so I'll quit throwing stones.
Hat tip to ReadTheStimulus.org for this. After the conference committee approved the bill that would come for a vote on Wednesday, I wanted to read parts of it, especially about healthcare. But the wording wasn't available online. Legislation apparently isn't written in a “wiki” format or even Google Documents, where it can be shared quickly and easily online.
It took until late Thursday night to get it posted online. That's over 24 hours. Not very “Lean” (in terms of being fast) nor is it good for an informed public. Then, the Speaker's website, where you could download the documents, was crashed (apparently due to the interest and web traffic generated).
The page where you can download the files is here.
- 4 files
- 100 MB of PDF downloads
- 1419 pages
I guess we don't expect our representatives to read what they're passing (unfortunately, there's precedent for this).
The thing that made the groan the most was seeing that the PDFs were created by:
- Printing document
- Scanning document
- Posting PDF
So it went: Digital –> Analog –> Worse form of Digital
(UPDATE: The PDF file is actually text searchable… so either ReadTheStimulus was wrong or they uploaded a new file).
That's too many steps. “Waste” in the Lean lingo. They couldn't have clicked “Save As PDF”? Would have been faster and easier… unless the goal was to make it hard to download and hard to read.
This makes it impossible to search the PDFs, when they are created as graphics. Created from a Word document, a PDF can be searched by words.
Again, so much for an informed electorate. We're in such a hurry to “pass something” because it's such a crisis.
I'm reminded of Lean phrases:
- “Go slow to go fast”
- “Don't just do something, stand there!” (Dr. Deming, saying that sometimes no action is the best action)
- “Do things right the first time.”
I guess they don't apply in this setting.