The New York Times is reporting that President Bush plans to privatize almost half of the federal civilian workforce in the next few years. Needless to say, liberal interest groups and labor unions are having a conniption fit over the idea.
The budget said the president’s goal was to "create a market-based government unafraid of competition, innovation and choice."
The administration was vague about how much money its initiative might save. The president’s budget said savings were on the order of 20 percent, and other officials said 30 percent, enough to save many billions of dollars a year in a $2 trillion federal budget.
This is indeed one of the best ideas ever to come from the White House, and it should leave advocates of good government in a standing ovation. Government services are notoriously overpriced, inefficient, and wasteful of taxpayer dollars. Even Enron at the peak of its bad accounting doesn’t hold a candle to the kind of absolutely horrendous way in which the federal government operates. Every day hundreds of thousands of taxpayer dollars are lost through waste, incompetence, and outright fraud. Compounding this is the fact that it is a system that only grows with each new federal program.
The private sector can do these jobs cheaper, more efficiently, and with better quality than the creaking structure of the federal bureaucracy. President Bush is doing what should have been a long time ago – reforming the system at a fundamental level. If he can pull off even a fraction of what he intends to do it could lead to an era of smaller, faster, and more efficient government – something that is desperately needed in an age of ever expanding red tape.