Part 3 – There Is a Path Back to Federal Accountability

In Part 2 we examined how accountability has failed for the federal government. In this part we will address a path forward.

Boeing is in the news recently as another organization which has lost its way. A consensus is forming that the legendary aircraft manufacturer let DEI pursuits distract it from its primary mission – with disastrous consequences. According to whistleblowers, the Boeing culture has shifted from an expectation of excellence, to an acceptance of sloppiness. But even if the company were to announce a complete abandonment of social engineering pursuits immediately, the culture which allowed its quality issues to fester would persist.

Boeing’s quality system will fail to detect or correct quality issues, and planes will continue to fly with defects, so long as employees aren’t incentivized for quality. Boeing’s culture can only be healed by addressing the failure points in its accountability systems first. When people are held accountable for doing the right thing, the preferred behavior will become the norm. Over time, pride in workmanship will become the culture again.

There have been numerous books and essays suggesting that our federal government dysfunction was caused by

  • The communist slow march through our institutions,
  • Ill-advised social justice pursuits,
  • Mission creep due to emerging global demands, and
  • Political polarization of the electorate.

None of those theories about the crosswinds which drove our ship of state off course are necessarily wrong. But our craft will not be brought back to the correct heading until the autopilot is able to detect and correct course deviations.

Even if November delivers a miraculous landslide victory in which every elected candidate is committed to renewed federal accountability, the FBI will remain on a domestic terrorist snipe hunt, the CIA will still be blind to threats that don’t fit its preferred narrative, and the EPA will continue trying the change the weather by bankrupting us. Regardless of who the electorate sends to lead the federal government, the entrenched bureaucrats – and their culture – will be unchanged.

No significant change in government behavior will occur until the accountability systems are changed to reward preferred behavior and punish violations of the public trust. The accountability issues identified in part 2, must be fixed first. To achieve that, we need to address three major accountability issues:

  1. Politicians have become permanent residents of Washington, making them part of the problem community rather than the customer (electorate) community.
  2. The bureaucracy has become more powerful than the leadership – able to dodge oversight with deception, disregard, and stonewalling.
  3. Enforcement (i.e. discipline) is dependent on the integrity of the bureaucracy. When those responsible for justice instead violate the Constitution, a critical failure point has been ruptured.

All government accountability issues stem from an imbalance of power. The corrupt have it, and those demanding accountability don’t. This imbalance can only be corrected by limiting federal power, or shifting it to non-federal entities (i.e., states or citizens).

The government cannot be allowed to grow at its current rate. The scope of federal government operations (as measured by fiscal outlays) has more than tripled in the last 2 decades. We are now amassing $1 trillion of new debt every 100 days, regardless of which party is making the budgets. Politicians are addicted to spending. Socially responsible behavior is never facilitated by increasing an addict’s access to that which he is addicted to. We need a Constitutional amendment to limit Washington’s ability to continually expand its size.

The federal government needs to face accountability for enacting legislation that increases its power over the electorate. The states need the authority to collectively abrogate statutory or regulatory actions of which they disapprove. If the EPA issues an economy busting regulation, the states should have the power to collectively cancel it. How much differently would regulatory agencies behave, if their decisions were subject to state oversight?

We need to prevent elected representatives from amassing power and becoming part of the problem due to lifetime residence in Washington. Impose term limits on all Representatives and Senators. With limited time in office, our elected representatives will be more likely to remain attuned to the wishes of the electorate – those to whom they will be returning.

The states need the authority to enforce federal laws. Currently, federal law enforcement is allowed to use discretion in prosecutions, to apply available resources where they are most critically needed. Unfortunately, the federal government is now selectively enforcing laws for ideological rather than practical reasons. Secretary Mayorkas refuses to enforce immigration laws and Attorney General Garland refuses to enforce civil rights laws violated by his own department.

Empowering states to enforce federal laws would neuter the federal government’s ability to use selective enforcement for political purposes. How much differently would federal employees behave if their actions could lead to their arrest and trial in Wichita or Boise?

The federal government will never willingly implement legislation to transfer power back to the states and the citizens. Washington’s solution for every problem is to grow the federal government. When our national security apparatus failed us in the days leading to 9/11, our politicians promised to fix it – by adding the Department of Homeland Security and massively expanding the power of government. Yet with military aged males on the terrorist watch list crossing our borders every day, adding another layer of bureaucracy has not improved our security. A lack of resources is not the government’s problem – a lack of accountability is. The only solution is external accountability.

Luckily, our founders anticipated this problem and gave us a constitutional means to peacefully re-impose the will of the people. Article V of the Constitution grants authority to the states to amend the Constitution – without the consent or cooperation of the federal government. It requires 34 states to call for a convention to propose amendments, and 38 states to ratify any resulting proposals. Significant progress has already been made towards this objective. Nineteen states have passed resolutions calling for a convention to address term limits, fiscal accountability, and federal overreach.

The Washington culture will only be healed when service to the public is in the selfish best interest of the bureaucracy. That will only happen when accountability is imposed by those the bureaucracy is intended to serve – the states and citizens. When a future political leader asks a federal employee to spy, censor, or criminally target an opponent; we need their answer to be: “No. I’m not going to jail for you.” When that happens, the autopilot will have been reengaged. Corruption, social engineering, and political dirty tricks will be unable drive deviation from our Constitutional course.

Author Bio: John Green is a retired engineer and political refugee from Minnesota, now residing in Idaho. He spent his career designing complex defense systems, developing high performance organizations, and doing corporate strategic planning. He can be reached at

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