If you were in business and found a way - and a legal one at that - to save one-third of your costs, you'd probably be interested. That's the position the federal government now faces following new rules put in place last week that will allow private businesses to bid and compete for federal jobs.
The Bush administration approved new rules that will open nearly one million federal jobs to the private sector. Federal officials estimate the private company costs will save the federal government - and in turn, your taxes - nearly one third each year.
But don't expect these changes to occur overnight. Far from it. This new rule simply allows for a competitive bidding process to begin. For example, federal workers who provide weather reports to private pilots may soon not be federal employees but rather employees of some private firm who can do an equally proficient job for much less cost.
The Democrats and labor officials feel the move is a union-busting tactic and will allow for political favors to be handed out to the winning private firms. In fact, these new rules aren't much different than those currently in place. They simply streamline the process and make it less cumbersome for private business to bid on federal jobs.
In some cases today, it takes up to four years for a private company to be actively involved in the bidding process for federal jobs. This new rule will reduce that time to less than a year.
Any venture that can save taxpayers one third of the cost of federal employees seems to make sense. The jobs involved include graphic designers, computer technicians and financial services personnel. These jobs, though important, are not essential to the national defense, for example. If they can be done as well (or better) by the private sector at much less the cost, then let the bidding begin.