The federal government is one of the world's biggest consumers. These hundreds of billions of dollars in purchases and investments are a driving force of the American economy -- procurement creates jobs, promotes innovation and even has socially beneficial effects. It also is often associated with outsourcing waste and fraud and crony capitalism.
With midterm elections four months away, there are signs that a bitterly polarized electorate will again deliver a government incapable of working together. This is our era's sad twist on the maxim "all politics is local." You can win local elections at the extremes. But you can't govern from there.