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May 29, 2014


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Max Hailperin

I agree with Walz that Shinseki was "let down by certain people working under him." Yet I also wonder how much blame should be shared by people over him, up to and including the general citizenry. We've come to accept (not just at the VA) a management model that provides ambitious objectives without scaling resources up commensurately, because efficiencies will magically be wrung out if individuals' incentives are aligned: those who work magic are rewarded with bonuses and promotions, while those who openly admit they can't are fired. This alone isn't sufficient explanation for lower-level operatives to engage in fraudulent behavior, but it provides a conducive environment. particularly if sustained for long enough to deplete the ranks of those who honorably take their talents elsewhere.

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