Washington’s failures are far more significant to the economy than Detroit’s. The federal government not only is over seven times larger than Detroit in annual expenditures but it also establishes the legal platform on which the entire U.S. economy operates. The legal infrastructure that Congress has provided is a huge, internally inconsistent mess, requiring businesses, hospitals and schools to negotiate a maze of legal detours. Day-to-day, teachers, doctors, business managers and government officials are unable to make sense of ordinary choices. Law has effectively removed the freedom needed to take responsibility.
About 2/3 of public employees do nothing useful. They’re timeservers who revel in building bureaucratic fiefdoms which add nothing to the achievement of their goal, (if they have one) but do allow the bureaucrats to show other bureaucrats how powerful they are. See Richard Clarke.