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Thank You, God, for this action by the Biden Administration. Help us give credit where credit is due.

On Nov. 5, Catrin Sahlberg went to a post office, filled out a passport application for her son, and paid $60 to expedite it. The agent said she might have the passport in as little as three weeks, so Sahlberg booked plane tickets to Sweden for Dec. 26 to see her parents for the first time in years. But as of this past weekend, the passport hadn’t arrived.

Sahlberg has spent hours on the phone seeking updates on the application, asking her congressional representative to expedite it, and trying to book an in-person appointment that would get her a same-day passport. She’s placed dozens of calls with no luck. Once an agent at the State Department’s National Passport Center found an appointment in Georgia, but it was gone before Sahlberg could sign up. She joined a Facebook group of people swapping tips on speeding up the process. One person posted about having paid $1,600 to a private business that promised to speed up the application, she said.

President Joe Biden has called efforts such as Sahlberg’s a “time tax” on people who interact with the federal bureaucracy. The White House estimates Americans spend 9 billion hours on federal paperwork each year. Last week, Biden signed an executive order aimed at cutting red tape at 17 agencies. He told the agencies to improve their customer service and streamline processes for everything from enrolling for food benefits to applying for fish and wildlife permits.

The executive order calls for a bundle of specific improvements, including an online-only option for renewing passports, the ability to schedule callbacks from IRS customer service, and revamped websites. It also directs agencies to pick their own high-impact services that need improvement, write plans for getting better, and measure their progress. The government agencies must compare their customer service with that of the private sector, which they regularly trail. In 2020, the government had the lowest score of the 10 industries measured by the American Customer Satisfaction Index.

What do you think?

(Excerpt from World News Group. Photo Credit: Getty Images)

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