I'm a 27 year old US patent examiner. I joined the US Patent Office last year. Since then, not only have I realized the gravity of what goes on where I work, but I've realized that because of this, beneficial changes here can mean beneficial changes across our nation. Ironically, the USPTO is not even a choice in the dropdown for this submission.
The USPTO is the brain that operates the body of American innovation. Inventors may be the heart, but the heart needs the brain to work, and work efficiently.
The brain of innovation needs the very best in technology.
I prosecute 3-4 cases a biweek. For every Office action, I spend 1-2 hours 'cutting', 'pasting', and 'inserting' to setup each write-up using the current correspondence system.
It was time-consuming, so I wrote a script that automates it. This part of the write-up now takes me 30 seconds. It creates a template unique to each case, and does the bulk of the organizing and arranging automatically. But this only helps me.
There are 9,000 examiners that use the current system, who on average prosecute 5 cases/biweek (conservative estimate).
If you save an examiner even 1 hr/case:
9,000 examiners x 5 cases/biweek x 2 biweeks/month x 12 months x 1 hr = 1,080,000 hrs/year
For at least $30-50/hr (also conservative--maybe grossly) for an examiner to operate, that's $30-50 million/year. But MORE importantly, you will help accelerate innovation. Inventors will get patents faster, venture capitalists will invest faster, businesses will pop-up faster, jobs created, and innovation in our country will accelerate.
The USPTO is the most efficient agency you can imagine-- and rightfully so. It evolved that way because small things here mean so much. Don't underestimate how much every minute of the Examiner's counts for our economy. Small optimizations to his/her systems can translate into huge results.
This type of thing WILL make a difference against a recession. And it would cost close to nothing.