British Prime Minister David Cameron is on a similar track, proposing "a mass transfer of power from the state to the people," as the London Telegraph characterized it. Localities would be asked to run bus services, set up broadband Internet networks and take over recycling duties, among other tasks.
A recent Washington Post series underscored the problem of government waste, especially at the federal level. In what was formerly known as "the war on terror," the story tells of a hodgepodge of many overlapping agencies and redundant work: "The top-secret world the government created in response to the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, has become so large, so unwieldy and so secretive that no one knows how much money it costs, how many people it employs, how many programs exist within it or exactly how many agencies do the same work."
Many Americans may not understand the inner workings of government, but they understand waste and duplication. Government claims it can't afford to cut anything, but it never asks us if we can afford (or want) to pay more taxes.
Republicans and conservatives might wish to campaign on a promise to streamline government by outsourcing work government has no business doing if it can be done better and less expensively in the private sector. The unions won't like it, but those of us paying the bills will. So, too, would my grandparents and their parents.