The Bush Administration needs a good lesson in program evaluation:

President Bush today unveiled a $2.57 trillion budget that eliminates dozens of politically sensitive domestic programs…

“It’s a budget that focuses on results,” Bush said today before a cabinet meeting. “The taxpayers of America don’t want us spending our money into something that’s not achieving results,” he said.

“… I fully understand that sometimes it’s hard to eliminate a program that sounds good. But by getting people to focus on results, I’m saying to members of Congress, show us the results as to whether or not this program is working.”

Actually, the one thing this budget is most definitely not doing is focusing on results. What this budget is doing is, it’s saying we don’t give a rat’s ass whether or not these programs are working. Regardless of what you think of the department of education, HUD, veteran’s health care, & all the other programs cut under this budget… if you want to argue that a program isn’t meeting its goals, okay, but make that argument. This is outcomes-based evaluation 101: what are the outcomes of a program? You can identify the outcomes of a program without knowing what the goals of the program were, but what you can’t do say that a program is not achieving results without discussing what the goals were. Sure, the federal budget isn’t the place to be making evaluative or methodological arguments. But don’t ask whether a program is meeting its goals out of one side of your mouth, while eliminating it out of the other. Aside from being disingenuous, it’s bad evaluation methodology.

Of course the Bush Administration hasn’t shown much respect for methodology up to this point, so why should this be different?

Bush Seeks Deep Spending Cuts, from the WaPo