How to Outsource the Government

April 1, 2008

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As everyone else's jobs seem to be getting outsourced offshore, why shouldn't the government share in the people's burden -- by outsourcing itself.

Those who work in the private sector may sometimes feel that public-sector employees have it pretty cushy since there's no competition. This has led our business-oriented Administration and many Congressional members to feel that outsourcing really helps us get more value from our tax dollars.

At least one report puts the number of private federal contractors at 7.5 million. This is four times greater than the federal workforce.

As no politician wants to increase taxes, here are some ways the government can share the people's burden — by outsourcing itself.

Finances Our financial system has let us down. Switzerland, on the other hand, has a good reputation for banking, so maybe we should outsource the Securities and Exchange Commission, Treasury and Federal Reserve Board to the Swiss.

Or send the entire financial system to China, which recently adopted a tight monetary policy to prevent economic overheating and fight inflation and whose government has invested abundantly to the homegrown development of science and engineering — all while keeping its yuan continually hitting new highs against the U.S. dollar.

Health Care According to the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences, the U.S. is the only wealthy, industrialized nation that does not provide universal health care. Maybe we should, maybe we shouldn't.

Either way, the U.S. health-care system in its current form is excessively expensive — and it fails millions of people.

Australia, Canada and France must have some good ideas to bring to the table, so, if they're willing, let them take over from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Department of Health and Human Services.

Environment Some people feel the U.S. is no longer a leader in environmental protection, but New Zealand has a good reputation for showing real concern for Mother Nature. For instance, “New Zealand increased the priority given to nature and biodiversity conservation . . . through expanded funding and policy measures,” according to the recent OECD Environmental Performance Review of New Zealand. The security of 200 threatened species has improved through effective species recovery programs, and there were no known species extinctions during the review period.

Of course, when Americans pay $5.48 per gallon of gas as New Zealanders do, we may emit fewer pollutants into our air, too. Nonetheless, we could outsource environmental protection with good results while cutting taxes needed to pay for it.

Infrastructure & Transportation Nationwide, infrastructure is in far poorer shape than it once was. And every once in a while, someone complains about public transportation in the U.S. (e.g., Amtrak). So there is real opportunity for outsourcing the Department of Transportation.

German, British and French trains run fast and like clockwork. So that's a definite outsource opportunity waiting to happen. Plus, if you've ever visited Amsterdam, you know the Dutch rely heavily on bicycles, trains and barges. These transport modes could seriously help the U.S. cut dependence on foreign oil.

As a bonus, we could ask the Dutch to take over from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers as the Dutch have centuries of experience with dikes and levees. We could then have them transport, say, a new levee to the U.S. on a bicycle shipped on a barge

Checks and Balances Last, we've tried this two-party system and frankly the value our government has provided really seems prone to corruption with all the lobbyists buying votes and the terrible effect of pork barrel deals. Think how much better our system of checks and balances could be.

The presidency and Congress could be outsourced pretty easily — Do they do anything worthwhile? — perhaps to Canada, where the cool air might keep them focused and civil.

Another upside to massive governmental outsourcing: shifting the displaced employees to more value-added work such as creating more entertainment: straight-to-video DVDs, kid-unfriendly pop music, "Da Vinci Code" spin-offs and other cultural riches.

"It's common knowledge that all major government decisions in the United States are made via a process that Thomas Jefferson described in the constitution as lobbyists bribing weasels. Voters attempt to solve this problem by electing the weasels who do the best job lying about their intentions to change the system," Dilbert creator Scott Adams writes at his blog. "So far, this hasn't worked."

Clearly, people cannot fix their own government.

So, if all else fails, we can ship the job of voting elsewhere. This way the voting public would have others to blame for the way its government is run, and articles such as this one wouldn't be written.

References

Outsource the Government Scott Adams

Government Outsourcing Grows Fastest of all Sectors by Patience Wait Washington Technology, March 4, 2002

Is U.S. Government 'Outsourcing Its Brain'? By Bernard Wysocki Jr. The Wall Street Journal, March 30, 2007

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