Class Warfare Blog

January 14, 2014

Can Business do Government Better?

Something said in a comment by Larry Beck on another topic on this blog tickled my thinking. Here it is: “The belief that a business can run things better than government is laughable when you realize thousands of businesses fail each year. It’s a myth that plutocrats have been selling us for centuries.” (You can read more of Larry (I do) at woodgatesview.wordpress.com.)

I think the various experiments with communism (although all have been distorted in one way or another) have given us the notion that, in all likelihood, business can do business better than government can do business, but can business do government better than government?

All of the evidence I have seen recently and historically says “no.”

Take charter schools as one example. When they became the point of the spear for the privatization of public school, I made the point (in this Blog, ahem) that something like half of all start-up businesses fail within the first five years, so what are we going to do with schools which up and close their doors? Diane Ravitch (well on her way to educational sainthood) commented about charter closures in Columbus, Ohio today “Nine of the 17 schools that closed in 2013 lasted only a few months this past fall. When they closed, more than 250 students had to find new schools. The state spent more than $1.6 million in taxpayer money to keep the nine schools open only from August through October or November.” (17! … in one city! Egad!) It would be bad enough if these schools were to close their doors over the summer, but when have businesses been able to program orderly closures?

As another example take Private Prisons. What have these companies given us: poor conditions for prisoners (prisoners don’t have paid lobbyists like the private prisons do), expanding prison populations (more prisoners = more profits), and political corruption galore (see the great American South West for myriad examples).

And how about all those military contractors? Instead of having GIs peeling potatoes and typing memos, the idea was that civilian contractors could do these jobs better and at less cost. A recent study shows that the costs are several times higher than if they had been government positions, and that doesn’t include the money paid to the contracting companies that ended up in our politician’s pockets. (Basically we are paying them to bribe our politicians.)

Now some may raise the Postal Service as a counterexample to this trend, but that would be wrong. The Postal Service, for example, did not anticipate the overnight shipping boom, but then the guy who invented the system got a C– on the college paper outlining it, so nobody else saw it coming either. The PS did finally get into a position where it offered competitive services but by then the private sector had gotten a large share of that market, so it shares it with the PS. The current problems being experienced by the PS are not based upon market forces, or any other reasonable measure of the ability of this quasi-government organization to function. It is based upon the Congress’s insistent that it save up enough money to pay off any and all future pensions, something no private company in its right mind would do. By extracting billions of dollars out of the PS’s budget to meet this requirement, significant handicaps to efficient service have been put in place (and are fueling things like closing POs and eliminating Saturday delivery). And why would Congress do such a stupid thing? Because certain politicians are being paid by privatizers to do so. (Kill the government beast, feast on its corpse.)

Government has a certain set of conditions it operates under that business do not, namely that it cannot be allowed to fail at its tasks. If our Armed Forces fail at their tasks, we could be conquered by another country. So, can we afford to have a private army which during an invasion announces it is filing for bankruptcy protection? Can we afford school system that closes because they mismanaged their budgets? (This almost never happened before privatization efforts, because such failures reflected very poorly on politicians in charge.) Government, that is “the collective us,” acts on our own behalf when private companies cannot be trusted to perform a function without fail. The idea that “business can do government better” is just wrong, worse it is idiotic, yet it is part of the central core of the ideology of a major political party which is an indicator of how corrupt our politics are.

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14 Comments »

  1. Government and business are two different things.

    So the logical fallacy here by the atheists is the habitual, comparing of apples to oranges.

    Government is nothing more than:

    1. The power to make rules, the legislative power
    2. The power to enforce the rules, the executive branch
    3. The power to judge whether the rules are being followed.

    Whatever person, group of people or institution that has all three powers together has total control over society.

    That is why America’s Founding Fathers designed and built a society with divided government. That way the people are free to pursue their own interests under the law.

    Because government, by nature, is all about power and self interest, it is also by nature incapable of social justice.

    Therefore, the government must only be strong enough to protect human rights and contracts.

    And social justice must be left to The People who are the ones with both the conscience and the capacity to pursue it.

    Comment by silenceofmind — January 14, 2014 @ 10:12 am | Reply

  2. When you put profits before people the powerless will suffer and corruption will like take hold.

    Comment by lbwoodgate — January 14, 2014 @ 12:40 pm | Reply

    • And you are an inspiration, whether you know it or not.

      Comment by stephenpruis — January 14, 2014 @ 1:01 pm | Reply

    • “And you are an inspiration, whether you know it or not.”

      On some days maybe. Other days, not so much. 🙂

      Comment by lbwoodgate — January 14, 2014 @ 1:43 pm | Reply

  3. “That is why America’s Founding Fathers designed and built a society with divided government. That way the people are free to pursue their own interests under the law.

    Because government, by nature, is all about power and self interest, it is also by nature incapable of social justice.”

    What a crock SOM. Did you read that in your TeaParty manual?

    What The Founding Fathers Thought About Corporations
    Author

    Comment by lbwoodgate — January 14, 2014 @ 12:45 pm | Reply

    • Woody,

      It’s actually elementary school civics.

      You’re a leftist indoctrinated into tyranny so it’s no wonder you know absolutely nothing about the way America was founded.

      That’s why atheists are not real Americans. You people need to move to China or North Korea.

      Comment by silenceofmind — January 14, 2014 @ 12:54 pm | Reply

      • “You’re a leftist indoctrinated into tyranny so it’s no wonder you know absolutely nothing about the way America was founded.”

        LMAO. Oh silly me. I forgot. Well then … NEVER MIND!

        Comment by lbwoodgate — January 14, 2014 @ 1:42 pm | Reply

        • Wood,

          The Constitution and the Bill of Rights define the lawful actions permitted the government.

          The US Post Office is a well known, proven disgrace and for you to use it as justification for anything whatsoever shows a surreal detachment from reality on your part.

          Comment by silenceofmind — January 14, 2014 @ 1:47 pm | Reply

          • “The US Post Office is a well known, proven disgrace and for you to use it as justification for anything whatsoever shows a surreal detachment from reality on your part.”

            First off, I didn’t say anything about the post office.

            Secondly, I think you dropped your tin-foil hat on the floor.

            Comment by lbwoodgate — January 14, 2014 @ 2:45 pm | Reply

        • Woody,

          No, you didn’t forget.

          You profess leftist garbage on purpose.

          Comment by silenceofmind — January 14, 2014 @ 2:18 pm | Reply

          • “No, you didn’t forget. You profess leftist garbage on purpose.”

            Well sh–! You got me again slick. I can’t put nothing over on you can I?

            Comment by lbwoodgate — January 14, 2014 @ 2:43 pm | Reply

            • Woody,

              It’s not me I’m worried about.

              Atheism is so obviously false but it preys on people’s fears and doubts making not just an intellectual poison but also a spiritual one.

              Comment by silenceofmind — January 14, 2014 @ 2:55 pm | Reply

    • I basically didn’t respond to SOM for the same reasons; he seems to to respond to arguments. The Constitution discusses war making powers, diplomacy and treaties, and the fricking Post Office which do not fit into his nice little scheme. The government is “us” collectively doing what we want and if the Founding Fathers didn’t get it right, then they are wrong. Why is it that so many right-wingers think the Consitution is so perfect when the damned thing was amended ten times within five years of its adoption?

      Comment by stephenpruis — January 14, 2014 @ 1:03 pm | Reply

      • And I saw SOM’s avatar and prepared to laugh. I was not disappointed. I’m still laughing, as a matter of fact.

        Comment by List of X — January 14, 2014 @ 8:32 pm | Reply


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