There is a popular notion that the government is inheritently inefficient and corrupt because it is a monopolistic organization, as opposed to the private sector, where constant competition keeps businesses efficient and fast. This simply is not true. Public service is one of the most competitive sectors out there. Governments are constantly competing with one another. Cities compete for citizens, states compete for businesses, and countries compete for everything. If a government is corrupt, inefficient, or lazy, the nation will be overtaken by any number of problems ranging from economic collapse to invasion to revolution.
This outlook brings about many good points:
Fortunately, democracy allows the citizens to change the leadership without changing the institution, should the nation be heading in the wrong direction. Unfortunately, more often than not citizens are putting their votes behind the politicians who bring home the pork than the ones who are doing their best to improve the nation's welfare. How do we change that?
Smaller (geography wise) governments are often better at solving problems than larger ones, not only because they've got their ear closer to the ground, but because they're much more numerous. For instance: healthcare. Instead of having just the federal government attempting to draft a solution, we can have fifty smaller governments take a stab at it. When a clear and proven solution emerges, either the other states will adopt it, or the federal government will. Not only does the small government approach increase the chance of success by fifty, but it also makes for mistakes on a much smaller scale when, inevitably, there are some screw-ups. Unfortunately, politicians in DC want to solve the most cutting edge problems, and citizens more often than not forget that they have potential stateside solutions (who's your state congress rep?), and instead demand action from the federal government, bringing about disastrous solution attempts on a huge scale. Stepping aside and letting the states (or counties, or cities) tackle the problems with no clear cut solution seems like a sound and practical policy.
Finally, our government has been lazy, corrupt, and inefficient for quite some time now, and yet we have not been invaded, or outdone economically, or had a revolution. Is this just the status quo? Should we then let it be because it's always been, or are we setting up for some huge crises? I say the facts show some big predicaments heading our way, and just because we've gotten by thus-far doesn't mean we're going to continue to get by. Historically, most civilizations peak right before they collapse. I don't think we're dumb enough to collapse, but on our current path there are going to be losses, because our government simply is not up to par with other nations, and that's not acceptable.