Detroit's Not the Only Place That Needs 'Restructuring'

DC should streamline many useless layers
By Matt Cantor,  Newser User
Posted Dec 19, 2008 12:46 PM CST
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(Newser) – Lawmakers want to restructure Detroit’s auto industry—but Congress could use a little makeover, too, writes Philip K. Howard in the Wall Street Journal. He offers a prescription to streamline the government as one would a corporation:

  • Dump “legacy obligations.” Like Detroit, Congress must ditch old promises it can't keep. Start by scrapping the no-longer-useful farm bill.
  • Cut out the middle-man. Successful companies have five layers of management. Some federal agencies have 32.

  • Get competitive. The "legal infrastructure" on which our economy operates “is a huge, internally inconsistent mess.”
  • Boost accountability. Congress should check the rear-view mirror on old legislation; it shouldn’t abandon responsibility once a law’s passed.
  • Create outside competition. Detroit has to stand up to Toyota and Honda; the US should have “an outside movement to overhaul Washington, perhaps organized as a nonpartisan shadow government.”