Obama to Americans: ‘Sign Up and Serve’ Because ‘Government is Us’

By Ryan Kierman | July 8, 2013 | 6:15 PM EDT


President Barack Obama

(CNSNews.com) – In a speech at the White House Monday, President Obama called upon Americans “to sign up to serve” in order to create a “better” federal government modeled on his first presidential campaign, which he characterized as “one of the most inclusive and one of the most successful campaigns in American history.”

“I’m going to be asking more people around the country – more inventors and entrepreneurs and visionaries – to sign up to serve…  In this democracy, we the people recognize that this government belongs to us, and it’s up to each of us and every one of us to make it work better.  We can’t just stand on the sidelines.  We can’t take comfort in just being cynical.  We all have a stake in government success – because the government is us.”

The president said that he wants to use the tools that first got him elected to improve management of the federal government.

“I very much felt that some of the things that we were doing to help us get elected could also be used once we were elected,” the president said, citing the novel technological achievements of the 2008 Obama for President Campaign.  “And as anyone knows, dealing with the federal government is not always high-technology and it’s not always user-friendly.”

The president announced that his administration had “made huge swaths of your government more efficient and more transparent, and more accountable than ever before.”

“We’ve identified new ways to reduce waste and save taxpayers money.  So, for example, just by working to get rid of overlapping IT systems, we’ve identified more than $2.5 billion in savings across the federal government.”

“And that’s just the beginning,” President Obama stated.

However, as CNSNews.com reported back in February, instead of saving taxpayers money, President Obama has increased the federal deficit by $5.9 trillion.

In his Monday speech, Obama stated that his administration was working “to innovate and apply the best technology to help solve some of our biggest challenges – from creating jobs to reducing health care costs to keeping our nation secure.”

Under his administration, the president pointed out, the Federal Emergency Management Agency  has begun using satellite and aerial data to monitor homeowners in disaster areas in order to determine who needs assistance where, “making sure that we’re delivering services better, faster, more efficiently.”

“We should all want a government that’s smarter, quicker, and more responsive to the needs of the American people,” the president said.

However, as the recent National Security Administration scandal revealed, expanding government’s use of technology does not always sit well with Americans who are increasingly skeptical about government using it to intrude into their private lives.

On June 6, the UK daily The Guardian published classified information revealing a massive U.S. government program designed to track the Verizon phone records of tens of millions of American citizens without their knowledge or consent.

A month later, the controversial national security electronic surveillance program known as “Prism” continues to generate widespread debate about the constitutionality of secret, widespread government surveillance.