President Harry Truman was famous for insisting that anything that went wrong in federal government was his responsibility.
"The buck stops here," he realized.
The buck still stops at the president's desk, whether he likes it or not, and the American people expect him to pick it up and deal with it. Consider the fiasco that was the rollout of the Affordable Care Act system.
At the recreation of the Truman Oval Office at the Truman Library in 1959, then-former President Harry Truman poses at his old desk with the famous “The Buck Stops Here” sign.
(Photo — Truman Library)
Though a few hundred thousand customers finally have been able to fight their way through glitches in the program's website, www.healthcare.gov, it continues to be plagued by serious shortcomings - three full weeks after it was supposed to have been ready for use (by English-speakers only; a Spanish-language version will not be ready for weeks).
Yet no one has been held accountable. From Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius on down in her department, there has been no word of anyone being fired or disciplined in any way for the fiasco.
There is no penalty to deter lackluster performance or even total failure. No wonder the federal government is dysfunctional.