- The Washington Times - Friday, August 11, 2000

George W. Bush will undertake a governmentwide downsizing of the federal bureaucracy that could eliminate 40,000 midlevel managers if he is elected president, his chief domestic policy adviser said Thursday.
In an editorial board meeting with The Washington Times, former Indianapolis Mayor Stephen Goldsmith said Mr. Bush thinks there is "a generational opportunity to right-size government" by downsizing, privatizing programs and contracting out services throughout the bureaucracy.
He said Mr. Bush believes there could be up to "40,000 midlevel managers that are not required."
Mr. Goldsmith said the Defense Department would be a major target for cost-savings by contracting out more nonmilitary services and administrative work that can be done more cheaply and efficiently by the private sector.
"There are dramatic savings that could be achieved by redeploying resources" to boost military capability and readiness, but it would take a program that would be "something akin to the base-closing program," he said.
"It's going to take a president with strong leadership to take the heat," Mr. Goldsmith said.
But instead of attacking wasteful, redundant and outmoded agencies through the budget process alone, as has been tried in the past, Mr. Goldsmith said, a major part of the downsizing approach would change the way government services are delivered. These changes would include using the Internet to deliver information and services directly to users, reforming civil service rules and instituting tighter performance and accountability requirements.
"It's going to have to be done on a systemwide, structural basis. The government is too big to right-size it agency by agency," he said.
While President Reagan directly attacked wasteful government and called for sweeping program eliminations and budget cuts, he said, "the approach that Gov. Bush prefers focuses more on reform and streamlining."
He said Mr. Bush's proposal to deliver more social services through private faith-based organizations at the local level would be another way to offer services more efficiently.
"We're not at the point of identifying programs to be eliminated or merged," Mr. Goldsmith said.
But he added that Mr. Bush also would seek to "deregulate, privatize and reduce duplicative agencies. You ought to do all of it."
The Republican platform on which Mr. Bush is running said, "There are too many departments and agencies with competing programs that waste resources and fail to deliver goods."
However, Mr. Goldsmith acknowledged that Mr. Bush has not made cutting the government a major priority in his speeches and in his campaign agenda, focusing instead on tax cuts, Social Security reform, education and a defense buildup.
"This subject [of downsizing government], which interests me, is a subject that is important to him but one that Bush would not put up to the level of his other priorities," he said.
Mr. Goldsmith said a commission, along the lines of the Grace Commission of the 1980s, to identify where and how government savings can be achieved is "worth considering."

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