Bring It Local
Policy implementation is often developed by lifetime bureaucrats who, once upon a time, were guided by leadership installed by revolving candidates. Once upon a time, Department leaders took the responsibility seriously and made every effort to keep the American people in mind as these rules were developed. Over time, as administrations came and went, the bureaucrats bent these policies to their goals. The myriad of policies and rules is overwhelming and oversight, or what is proclaimed as oversight, is imbedded in the current rules.
This is a huge part of the problem.
Large sums of money are allocated to various entities, not by Congress, but by bureaucrats that may have their own agenda. Since fraud investigations take years (best case) to complete, what hope is there of finding situations where a department head, or designee, allocated millions to an entity to do research that was never done, or should never have been “picked” for funding. Grants, or allocated money, make up 100’s of Billions of dollars each year. The old Golden Rule saying: “He who has the Gold, makes the rules” is great, but the person controlling the purse strings has the real power. Once a certain amount of wealth is acquired, the power becomes the drug.
Like an addict, it requires a fix.
These allocations need to stop. Since stopping will be as difficult as weaning an addict off of drugs, the easy solution is to bring these to the local level. At the local level, with a local elected citizen oversight committee with short tenures (six months?), the community can decide where money should go. If nothing else, it shifts the power. It makes the current power brokers impotent. The policies that surround these power positions can be evaluated, without money and the power to distribute these dollars, is the policy still valid?
Time will tell, but it is doubtful.
It is not a simple thing, but moving policy money to the local level is a beginning. What if Housing money was allocated to the City level based on each cities population. It could do with it what it wished. Some may choose to rent hotel rooms for its housing poor population. Other cities may choose to build dorm housing and still others may elect to continue what has been done for generations. Moving these funds to the local level may inspire some great new ideas that other places could replicate, but at the very least, it will allow the local citizens to be more involved in the decision making process. It would defuse the power.
This alone would be a huge benefit.