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 »
HE ADMITS TO A SETTLEMENT
Pelosi Calls for Ethics Investigation of Conyers
3 hours ago
THE LATEST

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi has called for an ethics investigation of Rep. John Conyers, amidst reports that the Michigan Democrat settled sexual harassment charges. "My office resolved the allegations — with an express denial of liability — in order to save all involved from the rigors of protracted litigation," Conyers admitted, after first denying any knowledge of the charges.

Source:
TO BE VOTED ON NEXT MONTH
Pai Officially Announces Intent to Scrap Net Neutrality Rules
6 hours ago
THE LATEST
SAYS HE’S UNAWARE OF ACCUSATIONS
Conyers Denies Settling Harassment Claims
7 hours ago
THE LATEST
SPEAKER SAYS IN LETTER
Mugabe Resigns, Ending Impeachment Debate
7 hours ago
THE LATEST
HAITIANS TO BE MOST AFFECTED
White House to End TPS Program
7 hours ago
THE DETAILS

"The Trump administration is ending a humanitarian program that has allowed some 59,000 Haitians to live and work in the United States since an earthquake ravaged their country in 2010, Homeland Security officials said on Monday. Haitians with what is known as Temporary Protected Status will be expected to leave the United States by July 2019 or face deportation. ... About 320,000 people now benefit from the Temporary Protected Status program, which was signed into law by President George Bush in 1990."

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