As the presidential candidates go at it over the next several months, we’ll be hearing a lot about what the federal government ought to be doing. Unfortunately, we’ll likely hear next to nothing about how it should go about it.
The need to reform how the federal government operates ought to be high on the campaign agenda every four years. Instead, it rarely gets mentioned.
Politically, this is puzzling. According to the polls, public trust in the government’s capacity to solve the problems facing the country has hit record lows.
Late last year, Gallup found that Americans believe the federal government wastes over half of every dollar it spends — compared to the 40 cents of every dollar they complained about when the question was first asked in 1979.
A 2010 poll for the Center for American Progress found that Americans are “extremely receptive to reform efforts that would eliminate inefficient government programs, implement performance-based policy decisions, and adopt modern management methods and information technologies.” Yet candidates don’t seem to believe that reform has much appeal to the average voter.
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