The government of the United States of America is faced with a huge challenge - to rebuild the city of New Orleans and the Mississippi and Alabama Gulf coast, to make the area at least reasonably safe from major Gulf hurricanes, and to rebuild and diversify the economy of the area. This is going to take money - LOTS of money - as well as hard work on the part of everyone involved. The biggest threat to accomplishing these goals is ... the United States government.
President Bush is being villified for suspending the Davis-Bacon act in regards to rebuilding the Gulf coast. The biggest problem is, the entire Davis-Bacon act itself is an abomination, and should never have been passed in the first place. Congress has no "inherent right" to establish a "prevailing wage", and never did. Hamstringing competition, forcing the "merits" of unionization, and grossly interfering in economic processes by micromanagement is stupidity. It provides government protectionism of "union scale", which is why it was passed in the first place.
Davis-Bacon is just one of thousands of laws passed in the last 100 years that severely constrain pure commerce and unrestricted free markets. Piled on top of all the laws are tens of thousands of regulations established by government agencies, frequently without congressional oversight, and equally as frequently presented as a surprise to those being regulated. One recent article on the Internet puts the cost of the regulatory burden at $200 billion a year. I doubt it's that cheap.
I like the "Porkbusters" actions being pushed by Glenn Reynolds
and at Truth Laid Bear
, but it's not enough. I think it's time to bring the full focus of the Internet to bear on ALL of government. I think we need to bring up and discuss ways to reduce government at all levels by one-half, and back up these ideas with cold, hard facts. I think we need to target more than just those currently holding seats in the House and the Senate, but also those in the governorships of each state, and the members of the legislative delegations at the state level. I think we need to ferret out every penny of fraud, waste, graft, corruption, and just plain stupidity at every level of government, and keep pounding those in both elected and appointed office until something changes.
One of my pet peeves is the over-regulation of the railroads which began under Frankin Roosevelt, and which inhibits competition among railroads, forces higher costs on railroad labor, and limits opportunity for innovative and money-saving ideas. Airlines, steamship companies, truckers, and hundreds of other commercial transporters are also over-regulated.
We have far too much government. Why do we need more than a dozen cabinet-level positions, each with Secretaries, Under-Secretaries, Deputy Secretaries, and thousands of other positions, most of which do little but try to keep straight who has authority over what, and how to duck responsibility when things go south. We could reasonably cut that number to eight, with a total of 26 Under-Secretaries, and cut about 4000 people from the government rolls. Why does the Federal Government oversee railroad retirement, and why does it FORCE railroads to be unionized? Why does the government feel it needs to continue to "regulate" communication, when the original reason for the Federal Communications Commission is no longer valid? Why do we have 6000 people running the FCC, when the role could easily be absorbed by a private company and a staff of about 125 people? Why does the government of the United States believe it has the right to regulate EVERYTHING under the "Commerce clause" of the Constitution, when even James Madison said that by doing so, the government would invalidate any legitimacy it might have?
The fastest, easiest, and best way to cut the cost of government is to cut the size of government. That can be done by cutting nonessential functions, eliminating duplication, and ridding government of just plain uselessness that has become pandemic in Washington, DC. Unfortunately, reducing the size of government is anathema to both government employees and "elected officials". It's becoming more and more obvious that the only way to break the power of government is to scrap what we have and start over. Hopefully that can be done peacefully. If not, I only hope the "good guys" win.