Teenagers of America: Congress Will Use Your Ideas for Bills

That is, if they actually work.

The morning sun begins to rise in front of the U.S. Capitol.
National Journal
Elahe Izad
Add to Briefcase
Elahe Izad
April 2, 2014, 4:31 a.m.

Re­mem­ber that middle school­er with an idea to change the font the gov­ern­ment uses as a way to save tax­pay­ers mil­lions of dol­lars?

Well, it turns out, it won’t, as The Wash­ing­ton Post‘s Dav­id A. Fahrenthold found after talk­ing with the Gov­ern­ment Print­ing Of­fice. But that was after staffers for Rep. Scott Peters, D-Cal­if., looked in­to the idea for a pos­sible bill.

Here’s the back­story for those of you who don’t know about this cost-sav­ing scheme: Pitt­s­burgh middle-school wun­der­kind Suvir Mirchandani made na­tion­al news over the week­end, when he found while do­ing a sci­ence pro­ject that the fed­er­al gov­ern­ment could save up­ward of $136 mil­lion if it switched its font from Times New Ro­man to Gara­mond. The reas­on­ing? The lat­ter font uses less ink, and ink is mighty ex­pens­ive.

Har­vard’s stu­dent-run Journ­al of Emer­ging In­vest­ig­at­ors pub­lished his find­ings, with a JEI founder telling CNN how “im­pressed” they were with Mirchandani’s work.

Seemed like a fant­ast­ic idea, right? Peters’s staffers thought so, too.

“We leapt at the idea to save lots of tax­pay­er money through what seems like a re­l­at­ively small change,” Peters said in an email.

So staffers checked with GPO about the pos­sible changes, and it turns out the ini­tial premise didn’t ex­actly pan out. Ap­par­ently Mirchandani’s es­tim­ated price of ink was too high, be­cause the gov­ern­ment is able to buy ink at a lower price than the av­er­age con­sumer, giv­en it uses much more of it. Ad­di­tion­ally, GPO print­ing is done with print­ing presses, and not laser or inkjet print­ers. 

Mirchandani can be for­giv­en for such over­sights. He told CNN that he had tried to get in touch with GPO about how much they ac­tu­ally spend on print­ing, but didn’t hear back un­til he had fin­ished his pro­ject.

Des­pite the font-change idea not work­ing out, Peters doesn’t want to dis­suade the na­tion’s teen­agers from pitch­ing him more ideas. “That shouldn’t dis­cour­age Amer­ic­ans of any age from let­ting elec­ted of­fi­cials know where there could be sav­ings,” he said. “Gov­ern­ment needs to en­cour­age in­nov­at­ive solu­tions from its con­stitu­en­cies, not dis­cour­age it.”

What We're Following See More »
FBI TURNED DOWN REQUEST
Report: Trump Asked FBI to Deny Russia Stories
2 days ago
THE LATEST

"The FBI rejected a recent White House request to publicly knock down media reports about communications between Donald Trump's associates and Russians known to US intelligence during the 2016 presidential campaign, multiple US officials briefed on the matter tell CNN. But a White House official said late Thursday that the request was only made after the FBI indicated to the White House it did not believe the reporting to be accurate."

Source:
THE QUESTION
How Many Signatures Has the Petition for Trump’s Tax Returns Received?
3 days ago
THE ANSWER

More than 1 million, setting a record. More than 100,000 signatures triggers an official White House response.

Source:
TIED TO RUSSIA INVESTIGATION
Sen. Collins Open to Subpoena of Trump’s Tax Returns
3 days ago
THE LATEST

Sen. Susan Collins, who sits on the Intelligence Committee, "said on Wednesday she's open to using a subpoena to investigate President Donald Trump's tax returns for potential connections to Russia." She said the committee is also open to subpoenaing Trump himself. "This is a counter-intelligence operation in many ways," she said of Russia's interference. "That's what our committee specializes in. We are used to probing in depth in this area."

Source:
NPR ALSO LAUNCHES ETHICS WATCH
Obama Staffers Launch Group to Monitor Trump Ethics
3 days ago
WHY WE CARE

"Top lawyers who helped the Obama White House craft and hold to rules of conduct believe President Donald Trump and his staff will break ethics norms meant to guard against politicization of the government — and they’ve formed a new group to prepare, and fight. United to Protect Democracy, which draws its name from a line in President Barack Obama’s farewell address that urged his supporters to pick up where he was leaving off, has already raised a $1.5 million operating budget, hired five staffers and has plans to double that in the coming months." Meanwhile, NPR has launched a "Trump Ethics Monitor" to track the resolution of ten ethics-related promises that the president has made.

Source:
×
×

Welcome to National Journal!

You are currently accessing National Journal from IP access. Please login to access this feature. If you have any questions, please contact your Dedicated Advisor.

Login