Department of Commerce

Consolidate the U.S. Statistical System to save money

Dozens of federal agencies produce statistics for the public (Census Bureau, Bureau of Labor Stats, Bureau of Economic Analysis, Bureau of Justice Stats, etc.). Most of these agencies are staffed with statisticians, mathematicians, geographers, and survey methodology experts.

 

Combining the U.S. Statistical System into fewer agencies (or just one!), like most other countries, would reduce redundancy, consolidate resources, increase collaboration, and benefit of the American taxpayer.

 

Also, the names of many statistical agencies do not fully reflect everything they accomplish. The Census Bureau, for example, does a whole lot more than just take the decennial census. However, with inaccurate names, the full value of the agency's mission is not appreciated and makes it susceptible to cuts or elimination.

 

This idea is not new. GAO wrote a report (GGD-96-142) in August 1996 which compared the statistical systems of the U.S. (decentralized) and Canada (centralized).

 

Considering the massive budget cuts proposed for some statistical agencies, consolidating resources and using them more efficiently seems like common sense. Having a unified name (e.g. Economics and Statistics Administration) also more accurately reflects the value added by the agency's mission.

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Idea No. 3165