For many citizens, USA.gov is their first stop when looking for information on the federal government. But now, an administration that prides itself on openness has effectively shut down a channel for citizens to make their voices heard on a central goverment portal.
It appears that the most recent allegations of mismanagement and negligence, and the threat of withheld bonuses have VA in the crosshairs as it's never been before.
But, that's not the case. Not even a little bit.
An effort by the House Small Business Committee to transfer verification of small business veteran businesses to the Small Business Administration is laudable – but could go further. At issue is the fact that the Veterans Affairs Department alone of all federal agencies requires independent verification of veteran-owned small business status before being willing to enter into a set-aside contract with such a business.
The federal government, I've argued before, is mostly a force for good in American society. It played vital roles in desegregation. Its social net programs ensure that the United States is more than a market of consumers, but a society that protects its vulnerable (something that's vital for the long-term survival of that market, as well, although those who would support poverty alleviation for utilitarian purposes only lack a soul). Its ability to regulate across the nation ensures modicums of basic safety and health standards at home and at work.