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Republicans ask public about spending cuts

YouCut is a collaborative Web site that allows the public to vote on cutting government programs, and has registered its millionth vote since being launched in May.

YouCut allows people to vote each week on what they consider wasteful programs to cut from the federal budget. House Republicans then bring the winning cut to the floor for a vote.

It’s arguable whether any one of these programs is wasteful and should be cut. We’ll put that debate to the side. This is collaboration in action in Congress.

In a community that’s very interested in getting in touch with the public, YouCut is more than participation with the public. It’s collaboration.

Martha Johnson, administrator of the General Services Administration, spoke May 24 at the 2010 Management of Change conference in Philadelphia about participation and collaboration. Even though the two words are used almost interchangeably, she pointed out the definite difference between them.

Participation allows anyone to offer suggestions or opinions on a topic. Participation may be about an issue with interested people who rank proposed ideas based on their merits.

“People think they’re collaborating because everybody’s talking,” which isn’t the case, Johnson said.

However, collaboration encompasses participation but also needs experts to help guide the topic and know if a suggestion is useful.

Collaboration needs the crowd to be engaged and offer solutions to a particular problem they are trying to solve, like in participation, she said. It also needs a review board to scan through the proposals for fixing the problem, with experts available to recognize which solutions have promise.

We’ll see, if through YouCut, the public will have any sway in the House.

Posted by Matthew Weigelt on Jun 25, 2010 at 7:25 PM


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