A recent Gallup poll finds most Americans think government is really wasteful—with up to 51 cents of every dollar squandered. Americans first responded that this much was wasted back in 2011—the highest recorded answer since Gallup first asked the question back in 1979. According to Gallup:

When Gallup first asked the question in 1979, Americans estimated that the federal government wasted 40 cents of every dollar. …

Most Americans are currently not satisfied with the way things are going in the country, and approval of government bodies, such as Congress, continues to be close to all-time lows. Americans' views that half of federal tax dollars are wasted underscore this lack of confidence in and satisfaction with the federal government. State and local governments fare better, but their perceived waste is still more than one-third of each dollar. Even Democrats, who have higher trust in government than independents and Republicans, see all levels of government as wasting at least 35 cents per dollar.

Conversely, Americans are loathe to cut federal programs, according to Gallup based on separate survey findings.

One explanation may be that Americans want programs they believe meet a real need; however, it does not follow that the federal government is the best provider. Within most communities there are religious, civic, and other volunteer organizations. Grass-roots efforts have distinct advantages over sweeping, one-size-fits- all government programs for a variety of reasons.

Local efforts can be specially tailored to the particular needs of community members. Resources can be targeted to where the need is greatest. Most of all, local efforts build communities where people can get to know their neighbors and work together as people—not as disconnected statistics.