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One of the corner stones of conservative ideology over the years has been privatization of government services. The idea is that commercial businesses, competing on a level playing field and operating in an efficient market, will bid on delivering superior services, say for example driver's licenses, at lower cost than bloated government bureaucracies performing the same or similar tasks. The government then acts less as a provider of services and more as a watchdog, and together with consumers, determines which businesses will flourish. Taxpayers benefit from the diversity of choices, a better product or service, the reduced cost, and the economic stimulus of new jobs and markets the private concerns bring to the community. It's not a universally bad idea, but it's not a universal solution either. Because some services are not profitable and never will be.

Consider Emergency Services: It’s not cheap to train and staff first responders; helicopters are expensive. There is no money to be made putting out the average four-alarm fire, or whisking a terrified, middle-class family off a rooftop after a rain swollen river leaves them clinging to the shingles for life. In the aftermath of natural or man made disasters, victims must be able to count on the Coast Guard or the Fire Department to save their lives or property, without first checking with a corporate bean counter a thousand miles away who is providing authorization for immediate action based only on what’s good for his company’s bottom line. Free market magic doesn’t work if there’s no market. And what if we ran certain critical emergency services for profit, using the conservative privatization model utilized by for-profit healthcare insurance companies?

Free Market Magic & The Neoconia, Inc. Emergency Rescue System. Illustration courtesy of Karen Wehrstein

Over the last few years a mutant version of privatization has arisen among neoconservatives that turn all the advantages of private enterprise, as well as the disadvantages of bureaucracy, upside down. In the neocon incarnation, the level playing field is dissolved in favor of government sanctioned monopolies awarded in secret no-bid contracts. Winning companies are not selected by the market; they are arbitrarily chosen by powerbrokers on the basis of political patronage. Wherever possible the work is either off-shored or performed completely outside our borders. Regulation and oversight are discouraged or eliminated. Worst of all, only the profit is privatized – usually into a tiny number of already obscenely wealthy hands -- while overhead, cost, and losses are offloaded onto the taxpayer: It’s the worst of both worlds and a perfect recipe for thievery and fraud most foul.

Cognitive dissonance of enormous magnitude may be nothing new for the dwindling neoconservative base. But, if neocons have their way with privatization, it will be a new and exceedingly painful experience for everyone else.

Originally posted to Daily Kos on Fri Jul 13, 2007 at 03:29 AM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Also (32+ / 0-)

    By Ms. Wehrstein

    It is a strange twist that those same conservative individuals who point out with dramatic effect that a few hundred bucks a month for the working poor or disabled is such irresistible temptation that it creates an entire class of welfare queens or workers comp cheats who go to great lengths and endure sincere risk to produce on paper or in real life disabilities, or child after child, simply to collect a paltry, monthly sum. We’re told earnestly that these men or women are so swayed by that potential bonanza that they will lie, deceive, and commit endless fraud upon the innocent taxpayer, to such extent that continuing the aid even to those in legitimate need would be the height of foolish, liberal idealism. And yet, when billions of taxpayer dollars are dangled in front of corporate officers, CEOs, and silent partners, whose career and multimillion dollar salary rises and falls based on quarterly earnings, we can trust these Good and Decent Americans, sight unseen and activities unregulated, to act purely in the public interest with no regard for their own puerile motives. R-i-g-h-t ...

    Read UTI, your free thought forum

    by DarkSyde on Fri Jul 13, 2007 at 03:23:05 AM PDT

    •  Yeah, but they "earned" the right. Just ask them. (9+ / 0-)

      This administration up and down has demonstrated their belief in their own supremacy. They honestly think they are somehow special.

      That is ultimately what disgusts me the most. The neocon arrogance and sense of entitlement.

      Larry Bird was arrogant. He would tell his opponent for the evening before the game even started how many points he was going to score and why the other team was going to lose. The difference was he would back it up. What can you say?

      The neocons have fucked up everything they have touched and then denied reality. When Cheney said Rumsfeld was probably the best SecDef ever, someone should have held him down and administered a sedative for the ride to Bellview. That was not the first clue that he was insane.

      The same people who want Libby free are the same people who rule out amnesty for illegals.

      by MouseOfSuburbia on Fri Jul 13, 2007 at 03:38:21 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Market failure (9+ / 0-)

      The idea that the "market" is the proper response to market failures is the height of arrogant ignorance.  Emergency Services is a great example.  So is health care, so is education, so is basic scientific research and development, national security, elder care, etc., etc.  While some of these public goods can be delivered through quasi-competitive public-private partnership models, they still require collective intervention to overcome the inherent lack of market incentives.  But it takes a functioning brain to comprehend this, not to mention a functioning heart/soul.

      Yet it is not our part to master all the tides of the world, but to do what is in us for the succour of those years wherein we are set... -- Gandalf

      by dnta on Fri Jul 13, 2007 at 04:00:18 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I would add (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Fabian, esquimaux
        (although this might be more radical even than health care) that communications and information delivery should perhaps be nationalized. My own experience will AT&T, as well as the travesties caused by the Telecommunications Act of 1996, make me think this would be a good idea. I left AT&T as my phone carrier about five years ago because of terribly service, erroneous billing, harassment for amounts not owed, usually trivial (threatening to disconnect my phone for $1.34), and frustrating conversations with people in India who spoke poor English and didn't know anything. I went to SBC for two years and was happy. Then AT&T took over SBC, reacquired my phone service and all the problems re-started. But now I have no choice. There is no other land-line phone carrier in my area. Some day (when Bush is out of the White House and I can upgrade from dial-up), I will probably switch to cell and disconnect my land line -- but will AT&T suck up all the cell carriers?

        A new beginning for Ohio: The adults have taken over!

        by anastasia p on Fri Jul 13, 2007 at 06:09:28 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I hate SBC too (0+ / 0-)

          aka the "New AT&T"

          I guess they had so many unhappy customers that they took on the new name, thinking it would fool people.

          Not me-I know they are those same old SBC bastards from Texas.

        •  actually I think SBC (0+ / 0-)

          (bastards from Texas) bought AT&T, then changed the name to "New AT&T"

          •  SBC is a Baby Bell... (0+ / 0-)

            From the original breakup of AT&T.  So the "New AT&T" is really the "Old AT&T".

            You never knew antitrust could be this much fun, did you?

            "Freedom's just another word for nothing left to lose."

            by Odysseus on Fri Jul 13, 2007 at 04:11:55 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

        •  How To Screw the Telecommunications Monopolies (0+ / 0-)

          Use Skype. Skype is your friend. It's a FREE way to phone or video conference your friends and family. If they don't have a computer, you can pay a pretty low per minute fee to call an actual telephone line from your computer. You can even have a voicemail box (for very low monthly fee). You can call people in many other countries, on their landlines, hella cheap. Seriously, Skype could put AT&T out of business if enough people adopted it.

          Use Joost. Joost is your friend. It's a FREE streaming TV service, and it could put Comcast/DirecTV out of business if enough people adopted it.

          My favorite thing to do is find an open wireless network with no passwords (see WarXing), usually plenty of these if you live in an apartment complex, get on the FREE internet, do some FREE video teleconferencing with my friends, and then watch some FREE TV. Seriously. Screw them all.

    •  So right, DarkSyde (5+ / 0-)
      I was just at a community meeting yesterday, sponsored by an email newsletters and local bloggers, about a proposal suddenly thrown at us by our county commissioners to raise our sales tax, although the highest in the state, without a vote to fund a pie-in-the-sky, no-plans-n-the-table convention center and "medical mart" whatever that is. They and their visitors and convention bureau buddies have thrown around a lot of rosy-sounding figures but the bottom line is they want us to pay a new tax for something that is virtually certainly to benefit only private companies awarded an advantage without any public process and since these things always lose money s far as operating costs, to pay for the bleeding with tax dollars so as not to interrupt the profit flow to private interests.

      We're also seeing the effects of transferring education tax dollars to White Hat for-profit charter schools (more than half failing educationally) from public schools into the pocket of wealthy GOP donor David Brennan, White Hat's owner.

      The type of monopolistic privatization you describe is painful, but it's not new. (Sports stadiums are another obvious example and they're rife). I think most Americans have seen enough of it to know it's not a good thing.

      A new beginning for Ohio: The adults have taken over!

      by anastasia p on Fri Jul 13, 2007 at 06:01:25 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  anastasia (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        libertyisliberal

        we've got a convention center plan in my city as well.   No vote, all tax payer funded.  

        and they are running rampant privatizing our school system with charter schools.  I'm surprised there isn't more discussion on Dkos about this issue.  It is huge and is a disaster in our city (Albany, NY).   But president Bush did just sent letters and "white house pens" to the recent charter school grads.  No such presents for our public school kids.

        Perhaps I should be on the look out for a "medical mart".  

        Corporate Welfare should be a campaign issue for dems.  But too many of them are in on the game.

    •  Sleep in, miss the party! (3+ / 0-)

      That and the f'ed up internet connection.

      Mojo for an artist who hasn't had TU for months now... (do you know what it's like to abstain from TU for months???)

  •  That's right. We are going from a plutocracy... (12+ / 0-)

    to a cleptocracy.

    With an intervening 8-year kakistocracy. I love that word. Who would ever have thought there was already a word to perfectly describe this administration?

    The same people who want Libby free are the same people who rule out amnesty for illegals.

    by MouseOfSuburbia on Fri Jul 13, 2007 at 03:26:50 AM PDT

  •  Regulation has become the boogyman (14+ / 0-)

    For yrs we have seen calls for Deregulation. It hasn't seem to matter what the issue is, deregulation is bad, bad, bad. How has the deregulation thing worked out for us ?

    It has screwed up just about everything it has touched from Food Safety ( Pet deaths, E Coli ), to regulating the serves provided to our troops, ( spoiled food, bad water, and Mercs), to the Presidency itself. We sure as hell have given up on regulating our democracy it seems.

    It's time to return the business of regulating our safety to the gov. agencys that once kept us safer than we are today.

    ( still on my first cuppa, but I hope this made sense to someone )

    -8.63 -7.28 Ask " The Question "

    by OneCrankyDom on Fri Jul 13, 2007 at 03:31:20 AM PDT

    •  They want to return to the good old days.... (7+ / 0-)

      ....of caveat emptor. They claim that the market place should be the venue for all decisions....that the market is the most efficient means of processing the available data.  Then they'll do everything they can to obfuscate the data: changing the definition of "organic", keeping GMO labels of off food and fighting tooth and nail against giving consumers precisely the kind of information they need to create an efficient market.

      -5.75 -4.72 3.14159 2.71828

      by xynz on Fri Jul 13, 2007 at 03:53:51 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Right... (0+ / 0-)

        because these people, these elites who own and serve (I use this term only loosely) in the corporations, have no true ideology besides: accumulate as much wealth and power as possible. Everything else, absolutely everything, whether it's gays, god, guns, 'free market', 'deregulation', whatever.. It's all just window dressing and obfuscation to confuse us and divide us while we are used as cattle.

    •  Without regulation (7+ / 0-)

      Capitalism is a failed ideology for all but a tiny percentage of the population.  

      •  A tiny part of the population... (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        meg, OneCrankyDom, libertyisliberal

        who not surprisingly are its biggest champions.

        What should be surprising is, after all our history, all the revolutions against oppression, many of us (a plurality often) accept the notions of these elites as well.

        As Howard Zinn said (I paraphrase): If you don't know history you may as well have been born yesterday. And if you were born yesterday, people in power can tell you anything and you have no way to tell whether its true.

    •  It's called "Corporate Welfare," and (11+ / 0-)

      we need to be using that phrase much more often.  If most people in this country have a visceral, negative reaction to the idea of "welfare," the word should be included in every discussion regarding the government's giving away money to corporations.

      What else could you possibly call giveaways of tax dollars to huge companies that do nothing more than engage in the business they were formed to conduct - like the tens of millions bestowed on agribusiness in the form of "farm subsidies."

      "In this world of sin and sorrow there is always something to be thankful for; as for me, I rejoice that I am not a Republican." - H. L. Mencken

      by SueDe on Fri Jul 13, 2007 at 04:00:46 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  And the larger boogyman is government itself. (8+ / 0-)

      The out-of-control neocon (and neoecon) push for privatizing everything is driven in large measure by the belief that what the government does is useless (or at least not important) and, moreover, that government is not capable of doing anything right.

      The latter premise is demonstrably true when incompetent managers who are not committed to achieving the missions of their agencies are appointed to run them. No administration in history has done a better job of that.

      And, thus, the system feeds itself through a self-fulfilling circular process:

      Begin by asserting, a priori, that private enterprise is always better at getting things done efficiently and cheaply.

      Then cripple the government's ability to function usefully and effectively and, viola!, the need for privatization is proven.

      The irony of it, though, is that "cheating", as with no-bid contracts that eliminate competition, has the consequence of doing the same thing to privatization!

  •  um...didn't the USSR ... (10+ / 0-)

    Winning companies are not selected by the market; they are arbitrarily chosen by powerbrokers on the basis of political patronage.

    ...ultimately evolve into this reality?

    It is easier to fight for one's principles than to live up to them. Alfred Adler

    by Quicksilver2723 on Fri Jul 13, 2007 at 03:32:23 AM PDT

  •  Iraq pirvatization in US controll,Worldcom (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    JohnGor0, marina, dangangry

    chosen over Iraqi company for cell phone service.Pentagon awards contracts to nearly bankrupt ethically challenged Worldcom.

    have we hit bottom yet?

    by eddienic on Fri Jul 13, 2007 at 03:39:06 AM PDT

    •  Iraq (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      meg, hhex65, marina

      Was supposed to be a model of deregulated utopia. The sheer idiocy of much of what was done there can be traced as much to AEI-type ideology as to the incompetence of people hired for party loyalty and the outright criminal nature of a huge number of the participants.

      You got no fear of the underdog. That's why you will not survive. - Spoon

      by brainiacamor on Fri Jul 13, 2007 at 04:57:03 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Neo con paradise (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    meg, JohnGor0, Fabian, dangangry, TerribleTom

    One needs only to look at the neo con model in action to see how well their vision of a fully privatized country does.  

    That model?

    Iraq.

    Nuff said.

    •  Not only that (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      meg, JohnGor0

      I've yet to see exactly how many people are working under US government contracts in Iraq.  

      The major reason, IMO, for using those contractors is because the US military couldn't come up with all those extra bodies to send to Iraq otherwise.

      That is, without a draft.

      "I intend to live forever. So far, so good." Steven Wright

      by gsbadj on Fri Jul 13, 2007 at 04:20:03 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  actually the northern mariannas (0+ / 0-)

      were the neocon's first Petri Dish dream.

      DeLay would tell The Washington Post's Juliet Eilperin that the low-wage, anti-union conditions of the Marianas constituted "a perfect petri dish of capitalism. It's like my Galapagos Island."

  •  Ideological Privatization + Crony Capitalism (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    meg, vetman, JohnGor0, grog

    What is being described is a sort of marriage of ideologically driven  privatization with politically driven crony capitalism. The whole system seems to have been administered right from the Whitehouse by political operatives who were free to reach deep into various agencies and departments.

    Hennery Waxman's committee will have problems getting to the bottom of this because it is being covered up at the Whitehouse level by broad claims of executive privilege and a "cutout" formed using data services of the RNC.  But given time we should be able to dismantle the whole sorry thing. Somewhere there are records that show the political pressures and interference that were brought to to this project.

  •  Check out Sandy Springs, GA (15+ / 0-)

    Georgia incorporated a wealthy area into a new city because they were tired of sharing their tax money with the rest of Fulton County (Atlanta).  Their idea was to create a conservative government paradise complete with outsourcing of almost all government services.  I told everybody who would listen that within 6 months they would be paying more in taxes after all.  Sure enough, last month they increased their millage rate and ticked off all of their no-tax residents.  

    Be a reporter, not a repeater

    by Plays in Traffic on Fri Jul 13, 2007 at 03:43:06 AM PDT

    •  Can you do a diary on this? (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Odysseus, meg, JohnGor0

      An intriguing concept.  The gated community writ large.

      No more lies - IMPEACH!

      by Fabian on Fri Jul 13, 2007 at 04:21:40 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I'll give it a shot (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        meg, JohnGor0, Fabian

        One interesting side note is that when the company came in and started hiring people, most of the other municipalities in the area gave raises to their people so they wouldn't leave.  I'm sure the Republicans didn't count on that when they pushed it

        Be a reporter, not a repeater

        by Plays in Traffic on Fri Jul 13, 2007 at 04:46:18 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  In Texas what you get (13+ / 0-)

      Are MUDs, wherein unincorporated developments enter into agreements with nearby municipalities for roads and utilities with the understanding that the municipalities can then someday annex them. But in practice these communities attach themselves as parasites to their host cities.

      A great case in point is Austin, which, because it is liberal and Democratic, is a favorite punching bag of the best little whorehouse in Texas, i.e. the Legislature. Austin residents pay both city taxes and county taxes, but get almost nothing for their county tax dollars. Meanwhile, gated communities and country club developments embedded like tumors inside the city limits resist annexation, usually by crying to the Legislature but also with poison pill debt. These gated communities receive their services from the county, largely subsidized by Austin residents, who pay 80% of county taxes. In other words, some of the richest residents of the county have some of their services subsidized by some of the poorest. If you bring this up to the residents of said developments, they first go apoplectic at being called, essentially, welfare queens, then accept it, then go into bizarre defensive delusions like "well we create the wealth and jobs that let Austinites live here." Uhhh, right.

      You got no fear of the underdog. That's why you will not survive. - Spoon

      by brainiacamor on Fri Jul 13, 2007 at 05:05:32 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  To the neocon, government exists to serve.... (8+ / 0-)

    ...their interests.  They believe that when their interests are served, then everyone's interests are served. "What is good for General Motors is good for America".

    Neocons have structured a world view where, if things are working "properly", society operates in the neocon's favor.

    When there is more money chasing securities, it causes an inflation in the price of those securities.  When there is more money chasing consumer goods, it causes inflation in the price of the consumer goods.

    When the average worker has more money, s/he is likely to spend it on consumer goods; that results in the wrong kind of inflation.

    When the neocon has more money, s/he is likely to spend it on shares in the stock market; that results in the right kind of inflation.

    Therefore, it's in the best interests of the economy if more money is paid to neocons and less money is paid to the average worker.  It prevents the wrong kind of inflation and encourages the right kind of inflation.

    When the neocons get to define what is good and what is bad in the economy, then we shouldn't be surprised when those definitions lead to their enrichment. This is precisely the kind of situation that now exists in the US.

    Anybody who dares question these fundamental assumptions is accused of encouraging class warfare.  In a way, that is a correct interpretation.....but it's more like class self-defense: the neocons have been waging an undeclared war against the working class for nearly three decades now.

    -5.75 -4.72 3.14159 2.71828

    by xynz on Fri Jul 13, 2007 at 03:43:57 AM PDT

    •  See (16+ / 0-)

      I don't mind being accused of engaging in class warfare. The way to shut down that particular accusation goes something like this (Taken from a chat room):

      RedMan: "So, you for class warfare Dark?"

      "Exactly Redman! And furthermore I'm on the side of working middle-class families in ths struggle, how about you?"

      Read UTI, your free thought forum

      by DarkSyde on Fri Jul 13, 2007 at 03:50:31 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Re: Class warfare (12+ / 0-)

        "So, you for class warfare Dark?"

        The implication of asking the question that way is that we don't have class warfare going on now but that some people on the left want to create such a thing.

        We need to make people see that most of the depravations of this administration, and many of those before it were caused by attacks of the moneyed class on the rest of us.

        Someone asked Howard Dean if he "believed in class warfare" and he said something like "Yes, and I believe that the middle class is losing it."

      •  I can't really claim to be a pacifist because... (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        meg, JohnGor0, Fabian, libertyisliberal

        I am in favour of that war myself. I always feel supremely puzzled when spousal neo-con friends get all puffy and accuse me of promoting that ideal, I always reply," and your piont is..."

      •  Which is why... (0+ / 0-)

        In my opinion the money supply should be a fiat currency maintained at a constant level by a government agency which would only increase circulation in the even of increase in population. That is in the best interests of the body politic IMO. It should be a constitutional amendment, it is that important. Imagine, no more inflation, ever. No more violent deflation, ever. Only a gentle ebb and flow based on the production of real goods and services, not the whims of bankers.

      •  Privatization is EVIL (0+ / 0-)

        I've never seen anyone touch on this, and yet it's so clear.  With privatization you forfeit your constitutional rights.  A government agency has to obey its statutes, rules and regulations. Basically, if you have a right to a government service and are denied it, you can sue, on any number of grounds including right to due process.  However, your rights against a private company are rights in contract.  You need something called "privity of contract" in order to sue to enforce a contract.  A citizen under a government contract with a private entity is at most a third party beneficiary and guess what - they don't usually have standing to sue.  TA-DAH! The neo-cons have achieved their true purpose, the destruction of democracy and our constitution and the installation of a dictatorship. Because they are fundamentally anti-democratic. Remember, they believe an elite should rule, and by stealth and deception.

        Don't even get me started on the fact that there is no such thing as a free market - it's a frikking THEORY - and even under the most generous of readings, only works in the long run.  Which means you have to have harm in order to have a correction. Which means you can't plan ahead - you are reacting to disasters.  Which means you can't act with foresight and wisdom to save lives/make things better - after all, harm is just a cost of doing business now, especially when you have lost any means of constitutional redress. Most of all, we  must react instead of pro-act because, as we all know and as I've pointed out before, PLANNING is COMMUNISM.

        Sorry, I don't date Republicans.

        by wiseacre on Fri Jul 13, 2007 at 05:21:20 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  recommend (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    JohnGor0, Fabian

    I'd recommend but today that is missing from the right sidebar;

    Gen. Clark's answer to Kagan quoting Zawahiri - "I certainly wouldn't take my enemies definition of what the central front of the war should be" 7/12/2007

    by pollwatch on Fri Jul 13, 2007 at 03:50:29 AM PDT

  •  Its not the so called "Neo-cons" who are behind (3+ / 3-)
    Recommended by:
    vetman, JohnGor0, manwithnoname
    Hidden by:
    xynz, TerribleTom, MyBrainWorks

    privatization,its just the old fashioned right wing conservatives. The Neo-cons are a largely Jewish group(Wolfowitz,Perle,Feith,Libby,Ledeen,Kagan) who in many instances come from typical liberal Jewish backgrounds,some were Scoop Jackson supporters when he was a quite progressive,on domestic issues,Seanator from Washington State.

    Their driving force is,of course,hawkishness on foreign policy,which I term rank imperialism. Part of their motivation is concern for Israel and also a connection with the Likud party there.

    But on U.S. domestic issues like medicare etc,they probably would be to the left of the mainstream of the Rethuglican party.Please don't put more blame on them than they deserve and use the term"neo-con" as an all encompassing word for right winger.

  •  Will be? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    JohnGor0

    Ask a Veteran what she or he thinks about privatization today...

  •  Are we Rome? (2+ / 0-)

    I hope we can continue to communicate these complicated economic issues because this is the heart of the rot that affects us all.

    This is what the new book, Are we Rome?  is about. We all need to be researching this and getting the talking points distilled into a powerful message. This diary is a good start.

    •  I diaried on the section (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      grog

      of this book about privatization.

      In it I had a link to the Vanity Fair article "The Sack of Washington" that was the chapter on privatization right out of the book--that link appears to be dead, but Salon has a book review that appears to describe some of what that article covered.

      I have some quotes from the original link in my diary.

      I found this to be a powerful indictment of what we are doing re privatization of essential government services.

      Abe: My Homer is not a communist. He may be a liar, a pig, an idiot, a communist, but he is not a porn star!

      by Sylvester McMonkey Mcbean on Fri Jul 13, 2007 at 05:55:26 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Found it! (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      libertyisliberal, Stwriley, dmnyct

      Sack of Washington by Cullen Murphy.

      A taste:

      An analyst at Johns Hopkins observes, "Contractors
      have become so big and entrenched that it's a fiction that the
      government maintains any control." One obvious recent example is the
      rebuilding effort in Iraq. To supply the army or provide other
      services, traders and contractors often traveled with Roman legions;
      Julius Caesar had such a person with him during the Gallic Wars,
      explicitly "for the sake of business." There may have been no
      alternative to giving the reconstruction job in Iraq to private
      corporations, including giant combines such as Bechtel and Halliburton,
      but the result has been an effort that defies management or
      accountability. The evidence of widespread corruption in the Iraq
      rebuilding effort is beyond dispute. Corruption aside, private
      companies are exempt from many regulations that would apply to
      government agencies. The records of private companies can't be obtained
      through the Freedom of Information Act. They can use foreign
      subsidiaries to avoid laws meant to restrain American companies. Before
      the war, Halliburton itself used subsidiaries to do business with Iran,
      Iraq, and Libya, despite official American trade sanctions against all
      three countries.

      More and more secret intelligence
      work—translation, airborne surveillance, computing, interrogation,
      analysis, reporting, briefing—is being farmed out to private entities.
      Not only is the intelligence community becoming further fragmented,
      but, because the new jobs pay so well, a "spy drain" is drawing
      officers out of the public sector and into the private market. And the
      drain isn't restricted to spies: at least 90 former top officials at
      the Department of Homeland Security and the White House Office of
      Homeland Security are now working for private companies in the
      domestic-security business. Meanwhile, the government seems poised to
      turn the job of border police over to multi-national contractors, a
      task that will in turn be subcontracted out to dozens of smaller
      companies. Lockheed Martin, Raytheon, Boeing, and Northrop Grumman were
      among the corporations that indicated they would submit bids to build a
      high-tech "virtual fence" along the Mexican border, with an array of
      motion detectors, satellite monitors, and aerial drones. (Boeing
      eventually won.) A Homeland Security official conceded the abdication
      of government leadership, saying to the companies, "We're asking you to
      come back and tell us how to do our business."

      Abe: My Homer is not a communist. He may be a liar, a pig, an idiot, a communist, but he is not a porn star!

      by Sylvester McMonkey Mcbean on Fri Jul 13, 2007 at 05:59:29 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  The Roman example (0+ / 0-)

        Well found, Sylvester!

        It is well to note that the Roman example can be extended even further.  These businessmen who went with Roman armies were of the relatively new class of equites, who had gained both their original wealth and class status during the Second Punic War by supplying the legions when they were overseas (the first government military contractors that we know of.)  They were also, as a class and as individuals, supporters both of the reaction against Gracchian populism and of the ambitious politicians that finally destroyed the Roman Republic (for instance, Julius Caesar's most important backer and funder was Marcus Crassus, the single richest man in Rome.)

        Feeling Roman, everyone?

        History has a well known reality bias.

        by Stwriley on Fri Jul 13, 2007 at 07:50:15 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Please don't call this "privatization": (8+ / 0-)

    This is outsourcing, which is a very different animal. Privatization would be selling off Amtrak, and having it run as a business. Hiring contractors instead of employees is not the same thing at all.

    Outsourcing makes sense for many organizations in many circumstances. For example, it may be more efficient for a company to hire a security guard service than to employ their own security guards.  Small businesses routinely outsource their payroll operations.

    For government, it makes sense to outsource some stuff too. For example, it would be very difficult to maintain an effective jet plane building operation within the government, and there is a real benefit to having more than one private firm competing to come up with the best designs. (Yes, this can be corrupted and has been corrupted, but it's hard to see a better model.)

    The Federal government's sheer size means that operations that would be crazy for a firm to do, like running a printing operation, make sense.  The Government Printing Office could be outsourced, but it is a full-fledged printing operation in its own right, and doubtlessly produces public documents more cheaply than a private firm would, even if selected in a very clean competitive bid environment.

    However, what has been going in this administration, under the guise of "outsourcing" or worse, "privatization" is converting normal, 9-5 government jobs held by people with relatively low salaries but a good deal of job security, into contractor positions.

    These contracts are then used, as DarkSyde said, as patronage for political supporters. This has three pernicious effects. First, it allows the party in power to inject its political views into the career bureaucracy. Second, it creates inefficiency. Those GS-9s are inexpensive, relative to paying a firm to mark up an hourly rate for a contract employee.  And to fairly compensate the employee, given the risk that there may not be a new contract, he or she has to be paid more than a civil servant.  

    Third, it destroys institutional memory.  By using contractors, the government loses the people who have seen all this before 8 years ago, and how it was dealt with then.

    And this doesn't even consider the completely crazy idea of  paying contractors to pay foreign nationals to scoop mashed potatoes for soldiers earning less money than the government is paying for the scoopers. Or, even worse, the use of guys with automatic rifles outside the chain of commmand and any legal system to provide "security" in Iraq.

    But, please, don't call it privatization. That can be a good thing. It was in England. It might be good for Amtrak (there's something clearly wrong with a system that charges more for a round trip from NYC to DC than from NYC to Chicago).  But that's not the same thing as replacing salaried employees with contractors.

    The fetus is the property of the entire society-- Nicolae Ceausescu

    by JayAckroyd on Fri Jul 13, 2007 at 04:20:32 AM PDT

    •  The one thing that would improve Amtrak (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Odysseus, JohnGor0, ticket punch, Stwriley

      would be purchasing its own track.  Why do the eastern runs cost more?  Because Amtrak owns those tracks.  I rode from Ohio to NJ and we were three hours late because Amtrak leases passage rights on freight rails ouside of the NE corridor.  Freight trains have priority and Amtrak has to shunt off the tracks to let them pass.  Once this train got off schedule it ran into conflicts over and over again.  Fortunetely, the return trip was on time.

      Cheap, fast, good - pick any two.  

      No more lies - IMPEACH!

      by Fabian on Fri Jul 13, 2007 at 04:32:36 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Throwing hands in the air (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Odysseus

        The northeast corridor should be an operation that can run efficiently at a reasonable price.  Boston-NYC-Philadelphia-DC is a heavily traveled route. Flying isn't that much faster when you add in getting point to point and the time spent boarding and waiting.

        I don't know about the rest of the system. I've read frequent reports that the NE corridor subsidizes the rest of the system, which was borne out when I looked into take the train rather than flying to Chicago for YearlyKos.  This is crazy; it would make much more sense to increase capacity in the NE corridor and stop subsidizing money-losing routes. A private organization would do that.  

        I guess my larger point is that I think privatization is often a good idea.  But outsourcing 9-5 jobs is neither privatization or a good idea.  And that's what the administration is doing now.

        The fetus is the property of the entire society-- Nicolae Ceausescu

        by JayAckroyd on Fri Jul 13, 2007 at 05:40:38 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Little if any cross-subsidy once you account for (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Fabian

          maintenance of the right of way. Amtrak's Northeast Corridor is the most expensive bit of track in the United States because it must be maintained for 125+ mph operation (150+ at the north end). So any "profit" garnered through Acela tickets goes right back into the road bed.

          By train fares to Chicago, I guessing that means SLEEPER fares.Those are a function of supply and demand. The network could use more sleepers, but that's a capital investment that Congress has been unwilling to pony up for. It suits Congress just fine to string Amtrak along year to year with an operating subsidy that enables breakeven with the fleet already in place. There hasn't been money for new Superliner cars in a good 10 years.

          IF you want sleeper fares to be lower, what you want is a greater supply of sleeping compartments. That means more cars. And a Congress willing to buy them.

          Coach fares off the Northeast, by the way, are quite reasonable, even in summer. Does everybody want a sleeper? Sure. But most Amtrak passengers don't travel that way, even overnight.

          Resist authoritarian aggression.

          by ticket punch on Fri Jul 13, 2007 at 06:17:44 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Yup, once we left leased tracks (0+ / 0-)

            and started rolling on Amtrak's own tracks, they opened up the throttle and tried to make up for lost time.  Couldn't do that on the leased tracks - they aren't made for speed.

            No more lies - IMPEACH!

            by Fabian on Fri Jul 13, 2007 at 11:34:08 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

    •  Privatization of BR raised rail subsidy. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      esquimaux

      Further, it ushered in an era where rail fares have consistently outpaced inflation. Really the only noninvestors who benefit from privatization are trainspotters. All those lovely new liveries . . .

      So let's review: More taxpayer subsidy AND higher fares. Is that what we want for Amtrak?

      Resist authoritarian aggression.

      by ticket punch on Fri Jul 13, 2007 at 06:11:41 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Certainly isn't what we want for amtrak (0+ / 0-)

        I didn't know that.  

        But how can a privatized operation receive government subsidies? Sounds to me like NYC Off Track Betting organization, which is quasi-private.  And managed, unbelievably, to lose money for a couple of years.

        The fetus is the property of the entire society-- Nicolae Ceausescu

        by JayAckroyd on Fri Jul 13, 2007 at 06:20:34 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  "Privatized" doesn't mean "subsidy free" (0+ / 0-)

          and never has. In my town a private company runs the bus system. It hires the drivers, maintains the buses and operates a schedule that is set by the transporation authority. It is a privatized system. But since city-bus farebox recovery covers maybe a quarter of the system's cost, it must be subsidized.

          British Rail was subsidized to the breakeven point. The privatized companies who took it over required more subsidy because they not only had to cover costs but also pay a profit to their shareholders. The architects of the breakup were quite clear about this, less clear in how they presented this bargain to the public.

          Resist authoritarian aggression.

          by ticket punch on Fri Jul 13, 2007 at 06:25:58 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  Actually... (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Odysseus, esquimaux, ticket punch

      no, it was not so good a thing in England as the right-wing would have people believe.  Just try to take a train now in England or the rest of the UK, outside of the limited number of lines that connect major cities.  You can't, because many of them don't exist anymore.  They were inherently unprofitable but quite useful to these more rural communities.  But now they're gone (or converted to those strange "buff" railroads that have almost no real service, since they exist only to preserve the trains and lines as historical objects in that "trainspotting" vein.)  Look to the rest of Europe, where train service is still public, and you'll see an efficient and publicly useful model.  I've traveled much of Europe, and the trains in the UK are now the worst of the lot.


      Privatization, even defined a you have done above, is not universally (or even usually) good in a nation like the US or UK.  Remember, these were activities that government took on in the first place because they needed to be done and were not being done, or were being done in a way that did not benefit the public good, by private enterprise.

      History has a well known reality bias.

      by Stwriley on Fri Jul 13, 2007 at 07:12:53 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Excellent first paragraph (4+ / 0-)

    Excepting the final sentence, the first paragraph exactly and efficiently explains the point of view of several Republican friends I have. One friend in particular is of the free-market-is-the-solution-to-all-problems stripe and insists that the health care crisis would fix itself if only we would allow the forces of the marketplace to operate unfettered. In his health care utopia, my friend insists that the ability of consumers to buy coverage whatever and where ever they like, without any of the rules we have today in place to protect the insurance industry, would solve the problem. One could purchase insurance from any state, could shop around and comparison shop. Of course in my friend's neat little black and white world, the free market fixes all problems.

    The reality of course is the the free market as practiced here in the United States is a grossly inefficient system that is easily warped by corruption and greed (by design I suspect, but then I'm kind of a socialist) and leaves too many victims behind.

  •  Its competition that creates the benefits... (7+ / 0-)

    not the fact that the work is being done by private companies.

    I was talking about this with someone today at work.  As the diarist mentions there are some services that should never be run with the profit motive being the sole purpose of the activities, but for others, the competition in bidding for contracts creates the benefits.  Having a private company do the job instead  of a government run department is meaningless.  Private companies don't do things cheaply or more efficiently just because they are private, in fact the opposite is just as likely to be true.  This love affair of all things private is more delusional than anything else and encourages corruption at the highest level.

    There are certainly opportunities to involve private companies as long they don't involve critical services such as police, fire and emergency services, but if competition and bidding wars are stripped from this process, our tax dollars will be wasted and the job will not be done.

    •  Bingo! (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Odysseus

      That is exactly right.

      My favorite comparison is between the high tech and energy industries. Every 18 months (at most) processor speeds and hard drive capacity double; software gets more powerful, flexible, and creative. Meanwhile when was the last time the US saw a true gas price war? 1971?

      If the American energy industry were as competitive as our high tech industry, you'd get a coupon for $15 off at Amazon with every fillup, fuel would cost 3 cents a gallon, and the exhaust would improve air quality.

      You got no fear of the underdog. That's why you will not survive. - Spoon

      by brainiacamor on Fri Jul 13, 2007 at 05:09:50 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  DarkSyde, you’ve hit (6+ / 0-)

    on one of the most pernicious problems future administrations and Congresses will have to face, and a lot of it may be difficult to undo.  Who knows to what contracts this careless and lawless administration has committed our current and future tax dollars?

    This is not to mention the widespread problems of oversight and accountability, such as those noted by Robert Greenwald in Iraq for Sale.

  •  Privatization = Organized Corruption (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    undersiege, JohnGor0, Mike Erwin

    I think that privatization and deregulation have always been part of a coherent plan to institutionalize cronyism and rob public resources for the rich. When in power the right systematically defund, neglects, or obstructs programs it does not like, e.g. social services, and in order to justify its complaints that such programs are inherently ineffective when run by the government. This creates a context in which it becomes feasible politically to deregulate or privatize the complained about function, which action effectively transfers the function to some corporate hands, now motivated by profits rather than by providing good services (the market mechanism does not lead to optimal results because there is no competition). In recent years the motivation of not liking the government program has become less important (than it was, say, during the Reagan years), and sufficient motivation for privatization has come from the potential profits offered by the enterprise; for this reason now even plainly military functions are being privatized.

    The public believes that the market mechanism leads to optimal results, and that privatization/deregulation mean giving the function over to the market. The first belief is only plausible in the economic vacuum of zero transaction costs and perfect information, while the second is false when there is no market, or a peculiarly limited market with very high entry costs, such as that for government contracts. Because the public believes these things, the right's firesale of government functions to its friends goes on unabated, even though the results are manifestly inferior to the results of the government run services now in private hands.

    •  Optimal results? (4+ / 0-)
      It also depends on a peculiar definition of optimal results?

      Consider a health care market: Even granting zero transaction costs and perfect information, some people will not be able to afford the care they need. If it's an insurance market, poorer people will get worse policies down to the poorest who won't have any.
      This may be an optimal result from some points of view, in that it push the providers to provide care as efficiently as possible, but people dying from easily treatable causes is not what I'd call optimal.

      Or for a simpler example: Privatization of water, happening in much of the third world these day. A free market will set a price where the return is greatest. Too high, not enough volume. Too low and too many people will be spending less than they'd be willing to. Basic economics. But the whole point is you have to set the price where some people can't afford it. When that's something like water, the people who can't afford it die.

      •  amen (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Odysseus

        I used the word 'plausible' to indicate an ellipsis which you filled in a way. There are many ways the widespread acceptance of a false caricature of economic theory (sometimes promulgated by economists) has had a seriously negative impact on US society.

        `Optimal' is not a well-defined notion if there is not first postulated a universal measuring stick, which modern economic theory rejects at the outset (this is all that fussing about utility functions one finds in microeconomic textbooks). Simply put you and I assign a cost to inequality of access that the people selling the water don't regard as a cost. What you and I regard as optimal and what they regard as optimal are quite far apart. For making policy decisions some notion of what is desirable has to decided upon - this is ostensibly the role of the political process. We here are trying to convince folks that the social costs of the current privatization/deregulation enterprise are enormous, and that the benefits of this process are realized only by a very few people (and there are costs to society associated with the resulting concentration of wealth). The problem is not whether we are right or wrong as the answer to that depends on our premises; we are wrong from the point of view of someone who wants to live under a fascistic corporatist oligarchy. We take for granted that most folks don't want to live under such a government, and it is our task to try to convince them that is the direction privatization/deregulation takes us. We are obstructed in that task by the widespread acceptance of a fallacious and facile cant about markets, competition, and so forth, which bears little relationship to the world in which we live.

  •  Who's on first? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    JohnGor0

    The government then acts less as a provider of services and more as a watchdog, and together with consumers, determines which businesses will flourish.

    Ah, cronyism at work.  The quality of the 'watch' depends on which 'dog' gets elected! Republican dogs are famous for filling their pockets from businesses they promote!

  •  Aack. I just started working (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    JohnGor0, Fabian

    home health care. Public-Private Partnership outfit is fiscal agent for medicaid waiver.
    Started in late June. Paperwork submitted by fax in early July. After several hours of repeated calling, which included one stint of 14 minutes on hold, during which everybody must have gone to lunch..... "We didn't get it". "What number did you fax it from?" "We got 300 faxes yesterday!" OMG! I picture youngsters sitting in a call center in a southwestern state, chewing their cuds for minimum wage, while faxes spill out onto the floor.....
    Re-fax yesterday. "Well, did you call?" Aack. "I'm calling now." "You should have called right away, to see if we got it." "Well, the "facilitator" (pyramid scheme?) told me to call within 24 hours." "WE GOT 300 FAXES YESTERDAY!"
    Now I'm picturing those fax machines as being the old time big as a washing machine things from back in the stone age of faxing. They spit out 300 faxes/day, no more, no less. Mine must have been 301. I thought the days were behind us when we called immediately, asking "Did you get it? Did it come through?"
    Kid lowers his voice, says "You know, maybe you should just mail it to Richmond, it'll take a couple of days to get there."  A-duh. Okey dokey. Mail.  Will do.
    Your paycheck will be delayed. Sorry bout that.
    I hope no one will be offended when I send it certified/return receipt. That will cause them to have to step from the po box to the counter, and sign. Troublemaker, grumble, grumble.

  •  While many say "Go Cheney" yourself (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Plays in Traffic, JohnGor0, Fabian

    for this act or that, I ALWAYS say "Go privatize yourself".

    I think this "privatization is a large part of why I got laid off from my county job. Far to many issues to type out here but it was an actually GOOD program that delivered essential mental health services to well over 400 families and children, all poor.

    All black.

    Program axed, Medicaid rules cited as major problem and the issue of "private providers" was raised as another reason caiting they will operate fater and different than the county.

    As the case is made with Fire and Rescue, and contrary to the Fulton County mindset which said there was $9 million a year to be made off the poor's Medicaid billing, they laid us off and took our salaries and converted them into USELESS administrative staff, many dead from the neck up.

    Grrrr.......

    I got privatized without a kiss.

  •  Actually, the justification for privatization (7+ / 0-)

    was never honest.  The reality is that the primary purpose of privatization is to evade scrutiny by the public.  When the principle of sovereign immunity still protected public officials from being accountable to the public, it was fairly easy to do favors for cronies and even line their own pockets out of the public eye. Government in the sunshine made that much harder.
    The second purpose of privatization is simply a continuation of a long-standing practice of using public assets for private benefit and leaving the costs (especially clean-up) to the public.  (Perhaps the latest egregious example is the transfer of the nuclear fuel enrichment enterprise to a private consortium while the management of the wastes and the contaminated venues is left to the tax payers).

    The neocon dream is to have unfettered power--i.e. not to be responsible to government by the people.

    They reject that they are merely the agents of government and that the power to govern remains with the people even after they've designated a few to represent them.

    •  Here's a thought. (0+ / 0-)

      When a company gets bought out, taken over, what have you, what the purchasing compansy usually does is prune off the least profitable assets and sell them.  These leaves them with the most profitable assets.

      Look at privatization & outsourcing and you'll see the opposite happening.  Government 'sells off' its most profitable and least burdensome assets and retains its liabilities.  Sell off assets and keep liabilities....does that sound like a good business plant to anyone?  

      Running government like a business isn't such bad thing in some ways.

      No more lies - IMPEACH!

      by Fabian on Fri Jul 13, 2007 at 06:29:40 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  The government's remit is not to make a profit. (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Odysseus, Plays in Traffic

        Any business with commercial profit-making potential should be run by a business. Government exists to advance the public good in ways that can't or won't be provided by the private sector.

        Don't fall for the Grover Norquist paradigm. The proper measure of a government program's value is not how much money it loses (or makes) but how much of a public good it delivers.

        Resist authoritarian aggression.

        by ticket punch on Fri Jul 13, 2007 at 06:56:30 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Unfortunately, it's almost (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Odysseus

          impossible to measure the public good of avoided catastrophes as long as the unit of measure is money.

          Economists have made some progress identifying externalities--costs that are borne by an entity or entities other than those involved in the enterprise being subject to analysis--but not nearly enough to identify the externalities of fifty years ago that are now jacking up our health care expenses.

  •  Nothing New Here (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    esquimaux, libertyisliberal, Stwriley

    Over the last few years a mutant version of privatization has arisen among neoconservatives that turn all the advantages of private enterprise, as well as the disadvantages of bureaucracy, upside down. In the neocon incarnation, the level playing field is dissolved in favor of government sanctioned monopolies awarded in secret no-bid contracts.

    Privatization as practiced by (even as promoted by, in fact) Republicans has never been about market competition but about oligopoly: call it neo-mercantilism, lemon socialism, fascism, cronyism, whatever, but it is not about free markets.

    They are about preserving dead-end feudal (at home) and imperial (abroad) industries based on ownership through force or state-sponsorship: oil, mining, plantation farming, sweatshop slave labor, and tying it all together, the war industry itself.

    Enron is their model: in fact, Democrats should start calling the Bush administration The Enron Presidency because it's an appropriate metaphor.

    Bush is their mascot: even in the hothouse environment of hundreds of millions of bucks donated to his "businesses" by the likes of the Bin Laden family he was a failure. He had to be brought in as a 1% owner of one of the most protected trusts in America, MLB, which then used his governor's power of eminent domain to create the franchise's singular asset - a stadium in Arlington, TX. Even then, to make him and his $500k stake "successful" they had to do some special tweaking at the sale of the Rangers to make his less than $1m profit explode into something about 14 times that amount. Relative to W, Paris Hilton has worked her ass off to get by. Bush sat in his stadium and picked his nose at ballgames.

    There is nothing new here - this has been going on since the Robber Barons. What's new is the brazenness and the extent of the depravity of the media apologists.

    You got no fear of the underdog. That's why you will not survive. - Spoon

    by brainiacamor on Fri Jul 13, 2007 at 04:52:52 AM PDT

  •  Why don't the masses see this? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    libertyisliberal

    I can't believe that all repubs are wealthy and benefit from this behavior. How are they doing this beyond the scrutiny of the 45% of the populace that vote for them? Don't they realize that they are getting screwed without even getting a kiss? It's so frustrating.

    •  Distraction and fear... (0+ / 0-)

      that's how they do it.  The entire right-wing coalition that has backed this privatization nonsense has always relied on either or both to keep ordinary citizens lined up and voting for them.  The distraction has rested since (at the latest) 1980 on the use of "social conservative" hot-button issues (abortion, gay marriage, flag burning, etc.; basically anything that can be sold to Joe and Jane Six-pack as a "threat to the Christian/American way of life".)  The fear is a new element, long prepared by the neocons and their ilk for any opportunity to use it, which 9/11 conveniently provided (though they would have found some other way to use the same techniques if bin Laden hadn't been so obliging.)


      This is how they've been able to get a fair number of middle and even lower income citizens to support them, despite the fact that their policies in regards to the role of government at home and privatization amount to giving these same citizens the economic shaft.  Fortunately, the Katrina disaster tore the curtain for some, revealing the old frauds pulling the cranks of the "conservative" Wizard of Oz that is neocon government. The dismal failure in Iraq has completed the work for those who aren't so blinded by ideology that they simply can't ever be shown the truth no matter what.


      It's time for a new message to all our fellow citizens, one that makes it clear that there are many things that must be done by government because they are too critical to the well-being of the nation and its citizens to be left to the vagaries of the profit motive.  Not only are some (as is pointed out above) inherently non-profitable, but many others could be profitable but the imposition of profit motive changes their delivery or access parameters in such a way that they no longer achieve the desired purposes (like healthcare, for instance.)  Only when we finally get the majority of citizens to realize that the profit motive needs to be cherished where it is useful and excluded where it is not will we finally get this country on the right footing.

      History has a well known reality bias.

      by Stwriley on Fri Jul 13, 2007 at 06:47:59 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  I can't hear you... (0+ / 0-)

      Al Queda... I can't believe that all repubs AL QUEDA... are wealthy and benefit from this behavior. AL QUEDA AL QUEDA AL QUEDA AL QUEDA AL QUEDA AL QUEDA How are they doing this beyond the scrutiny of the 45% AL QUEDA AL QUEDA AL QUEDA AL QUEDA AL QUEDA AL QUEDA AL QUEDA AL QUEDA of the populace that vote for them? AL QUEDA AL QUEDA AL QUEDA AL QUEDA AL QUEDA AL QUEDA AL QUEDA AL QUEDA AL QUEDA AL QUEDA AL QUEDA AL QUEDA

  •  There was a time where this might've worked (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    brainiacamor, libertyisliberal

    But now the government has been painted so incompetent, even Michael Moore's valid argument for government-funded healthcare for all is just plain scary, if not impossible to fathom.

    And, a more difficult question is:
    With all that our government has done to break things and get us stuck in the Middle East (not just Iraq) and do this NAFTA/CAFTA crap ... even if we had a voting revolution and replaced ALL of our representatives in 2008 and 2010 for a fresh start, how do we get out from all of the other messes (noted above and then some) to be able to do things right?

    In other words, we need to re-tool our government and our government systems, but it's going to be incredibly painful to undo all the wrongs that have been built on top of other wrongs for so many years, let alone the hundreds, if not thousands, of things done wrong/poorly by the GWBush Administration alone.

    OK, now I'm depressed.

    •  Not all bad... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      libertyisliberal

      Yes, the government has been painted as incompetent but I think the Bush administration has done a wonderful job of pouring that paint on themselves.  I think more and more people are seeing that it is Bush that is incompetent and not the government.

  •  Very Good Diary (0+ / 0-)

    And report on the evolution of the free market venture into government business.

    It's only natural for that to happen, where business seeks absolute control over the market via no-bid contracts.  This forces others out, and makes hash of the arguement that some services, or functions are inherently government in scope.  This, we can thank Clinton for, who changed the old A-76 process into a joke.  Bush and his gang of crooks just applied corrupt business principles to it.

    This isn't only in disaster operations but in every facet of government services.  At this time contractor employees actually outnumber regular federal works.  If the trend continues, only a few fed workers will remain.

    The key bad thing about that is the corruption.  With fed workers, the idea was, going back to President Jackson, to end patronage.  No-bids and massive contractor provided services brings patronage back into play, as many contractors are politically connected, and employ thousands of workers who are as well.

    Americans need to wake up to this reality.  Do we want a government like this?  Is this what is best for our country?  I don't think so, but Americans pay little attention to  it.

    We need a change, and quickly, before the day comes when we can no longer trust our own government as an honest broker, not driven by a profit or political motive.

  •  Actually, my fire and ambulance services (0+ / 0-)

    are provided by a private company.

    The inherent vice of capitalism is the unequal sharing of blessings; the inherent virtue of socialism is the equal sharing of miseries.

    by deathsinger on Fri Jul 13, 2007 at 05:51:18 AM PDT

    •  we have both in this area (0+ / 0-)

      Both private ambulance companies and the county EMS. Recently, the local hospital (501(C)(3)) contracted with the county to take over the ambulance service in exchange for providing the billing services for the EMS.
      Now we have the hospital, which owns most of the physician practices in the county, instructing its physicians to encourage their patients to use only the county EMS and not the private companies.
      Suggestions have also been made to the few independent physicians remaining, that their lives would be much happier if they were to use only the county EMS.

      Illegal? Probably, but given the enforcement realities in healthcare, they are probably flying under the radar. In the meantime, patients in this community are looking at a near future when the hospital will own or control all the healthcare providers in the area.

  •  That reminds me (2+ / 0-)

    Aftermath of Hurricane Katrina in Free-Market Lousiana

    (one of my first diaries, be kind)

    This has forced evacuation and relief to be an air-only operation.  Joe Boudreaux, operations manager for EvacuFast, one of the private evacuation companies that serve the Southeast Louisiana area, says that due to limitations of their helicopter fleet, they are having to prioritize their evacuations based on subscription level.  "We are focusing right now on our Platinum and Gold Premium customers," he said. "We believe that we should be able to start on the Standard and Economy customers by mid next-week--depending on weather and the survival rate of our prioritized customers."

    On a tarmac in Baton Rouge, Sharon White, a EvacuFast Platinum subscriber, shared her story.  Still gripping the crystal champagne flute that all Platinum subscribers receive on entry to the evacuating helicopter, she broke down in tears as she explained that her husband had accidentally let his and her son's subscriptions lapse just weeks before Katrina hit.  "I couldn't believe it when I heard the buzzer (from the implanted chip scanner) when they wanded their arms....They just left my boy and my husband in that roof with those strangers!"  She was quickly ushered into the EvacuFast business office to complete the forms to re-start her family's policy.

    Joe Boudreaux explains that some of EvacuFast's fleet of helicopters do not have the latest technology.  "Our newer choppers have a credit-card swiper that would have allowed her to take of that as she boarded."  Most of the older helicopters were obtained by EvacuFast when the Louisiana National Guard privatized and sold off most of their physical assets.  The CEO who engineered the sell-off is now living in Argentina, and was not available for comment

    Abe: My Homer is not a communist. He may be a liar, a pig, an idiot, a communist, but he is not a porn star!

    by Sylvester McMonkey Mcbean on Fri Jul 13, 2007 at 06:06:07 AM PDT

  •  Privatization done wrong = "Corporate Welfare" (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Mike Erwin, esquimaux

    We need some language on our side.

    "Corporate Welfare" would make a great bogey man.
    I mean, how can the GOP argue for welfare?

    We've got to target all of these:

    • no-bid contracts
    • inappropriate/excessive subsidies
    • giveaway tax breaks
    • earmarks

    Part of my "Corporate Welfare Reform" bill would include:

    • Banning no-bid contracts, except in national emergencies (i.e. not just routine prosecution of a war) - and in that case limited to 3 months
    • Dramatic rollbacks in agricultural and energy subsidies targeted at larger companies
    • Banning companies which off-shore to evade federal taxes from receiving government contracts
    • Banning unrelated earmarks from bills

    Then of course we have specific cases like the "No Pharmaceutical Company Left Behind" bill.  Not allowing a central point of price negotiation for Medicare prescription drugs is another form of corporate welfare.

  •  Firemarks (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    CA Libertarian

    Back in the day, from the 17th through 19th centuries, that's exactly how fire brigades worked in big cities.  There were private insurance companies, and you went to them to pay for insurance against fire.

    They then gave you a metal plaque called a firemark, which you mounted on the outside of your home to identify it for the fire brigades.  If there was a fire in town, the insurance company would send out a brigade of firemen to protect the properties with their firemark, usually ignoring any properties without it, including uninsured properties and properties covered by competing insurance.

    Needless to say, competing brigades would get in each other's way.  Homes would burn needlessly.  It's tough to control a large fire in a dense city if you aren't supposed to be putting out most of the fires.

    Eventually, people got fed up with how things were handled, and had their municipalities set up publicly owned and run fire brigades, to protect the people and the city rather than just the customers.  This left the insurance companies with just the policies, which they jealously guard to this day.

    By the start of the 20th century, most major metropolises in the US and England had professional municipal fire departments, and many smaller municipalities had the professional or volunteer brigades we see today.

  •  Here's another example (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    libertyisliberal

    In Texas the unemployment payment system has just switched over to a Chase Visa debit card. This is not an option--you have no choice. Now instead of a bi-weekly check to be deposited, I get money added to this account. Since this seems convenient, why is it a problem?

    For one thing, if I withdraw cash Chase gets a fee for that. So every time I want to get cash, Chase earns money. In my own personal bank account, I could do no-fee withdrawals.

    And for another thing, money sitting in a bank account is drawing interest for someone, even if it's not the account holder. Anyone want to bet that the interest earned on all these accounts goes to the taxpayers of Texas, and not to Chase bank? No? Me neither.

    This is privatization 2007--bad for the person being "served" by government, bad for the taxpayer, good for business.

  •  Back in the olden days, when fire stations... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ticket punch, libertyisliberal

    were first starting up around the country.  We're talking like 1930s or so.  Not cities per se, but rural areas.

    My grandfather's house started on fire from a lightning strike.

    But he was across the town border, over in a different township.  And that township was in a fight with the town where they refused to contribute any money into the pool to help build a fire station.

    So here the house is burning.  They got everybody out of the house and were watching it burn, when along comes the fire truck.

    And the guys got out of the fire truck to aid in watching the fire.  Didn't bother helping, they just came to watch.

    They were making a point...  Don't pay for fire stations, you don't get service.

    Been there, done that.

    "Bloomberg had to leave the GOP. His long record of integrity and competence was an embarrassment to everything the Republicans stand for." - Otto Man

    by The Other Steve on Fri Jul 13, 2007 at 06:37:05 AM PDT

  •  "Bidding" or competition is a key to capitalism (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    libertyisliberal, CA Libertarian

    I disagree with many of the postings.  Capitalism can be a means to promote efficiency and freedom, if applied with appropriate mechanisms to promote competition.

    Capitalism does not necessarily mean the market runs amok unfettered.

    Healthy competition usually does work as constraint.  When you take away a clean bidding process, one of the most efficient means for pricing anything, then you invite the mess of inefficiency and poor quality.  

    •  No. No. No, no, no. (0+ / 0-)

      A bidding process only forces the externalities down the line.

      Say a State bids out contracts to build schoolhouses.  Who will win the bid?

      The most efficient builder?  The most visionary designer?  Maybe.

      But they will have a tough time competing against the scrub who simply underpays his workers, uses minimal environmental controls, and builds only well enough to last until the check clears...then his buildings fall down.

      Well, if a builder builds bad schools, won't his reputation suffer and he'll lose business and be Punished by the Market?  No.  Because he made enough on the first contract to retire.  When the shoddy work falls apart, taxpayers will have to pay again.

      And if they listen to the Free-Market Funadmentalists, they will get taken again.

  •  Free-Market Justice? (0+ / 0-)

    Like SPRINT?
    Right.....
    Nearly everyone takes it for granted that if government did not protect consumers from fraud, no such protection would be provided. The free market, however, protects consumers in countless ways, all without any government intervention. In fact, it does so more efficiently and effectively than the government can.
    One of the most impressive examples of free-market justice involves something that might be in your pocket right now: your credit card. Through voluntary contractual arrangements – motivated by nothing more than a desire for customers and profit – credit-card companies provide an entirely private means of recourse when a merchant wrongs a customer.


    Yeah and shit is shinola..........
    ..................................
    Free Market\Capitalism is an Economic system.
    Democracy is a political system.
    They are 2 different things.
    Merriam:

    Democracy: 1 a: government by the people; especially : rule of the majority b: a government in which the supreme power is vested in the people and exercised by them directly or indirectly through a system of representation usually involving periodically held free elections

    Free elections, hear that?
    What is the business mantra? There are no FREE lunches/elections.
    Merriam:

    Capitalism: an economic system characterized by private or corporate ownership of capital goods, by investments that are determined by private decision, and by prices, production, and the distribution of goods that are determined mainly by competition in a free market

    "If at first you don't succeed, keep on sucking 'til you suck seed."--Curly Howard

    by JackAshe on Fri Jul 13, 2007 at 07:04:29 AM PDT

  •  language check (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    esquimaux

    instead of Privitzation, can we call it Corporatization?
    because there is no Private Sector
    there is only a Corporate Sector

    Privacy is a good word.
    Corporate is a bad word.

    by using their words, you allow them to control
    the terms of debate

    allowing your opponent
    to control
    the terms of debate

    will lead to defeat
    before the battle has even begun.

    from the wikipedia: Corporatization is a more precise term for what often is called privatization, for it almost always refers to a process by which formerly public assets or functions are sold or given to corporate entities.

  •  My F'n Head's Gonna' Explode! (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Clytemnestra

    Will some God damned "economics reporter" out there, preferably MARTIN CRUTSINGER, explain to me the following juxtaposition of economic "news" over the last two days.
    YESTERDAY:

    Wall Street . . .  the Standard & Poor's 500 index and the Dow Jones industrials soared to new records. [The largest rise in two years.]
    http://news.yahoo.com/...

    TODAY:

    By MARTIN CRUTSINGER, AP Economics Writer

    WASHINGTON - Consumers put away their wallets in June, sending retail sales crashing by the sharpest amount in nearly two years.

    The Commerce Department reported Friday that retail sales fell by 0.9 percent last month, the biggest drop since August 2005. Demand for autos, furniture and building supplies all plunged.

    The drop was much bigger than the flat reading that economists had been expecting. It raised new worries about consumer spending, which is closely watched because it accounts for two-thirds of total economic activity.

    But in other economic news, the government reported that inventories held by businesses on shelves and backlots rose by 0.5 percent in May. This was a better-than-expected increase that provided support to the view that inventory rebuilding will help lift economic growth in coming months, offsetting the adverse effects of a sharp fall in housing activity.http://news.yahoo.com/...

    Now if "retail sales fell by 0.9 percent last month," then it can be expected, "inventories held by businesses on shelves and backlots rose by 0.5 percent in May," since NO ONE WAS BUYING ANYTHING!

    Is this bad, well hell no since, "This was a better-than-expected increase that provided support to the view that inventory rebuilding will help lift economic growth in coming months, offsetting the adverse effects of a sharp fall in housing activity."

    Are all "economics reporters" out of their fuckin' minds, or is economics itself simply a patent fraud?

  •  Fire fighters (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    libertyisliberal

    It's a forgotten element of history that the first firemen in America were private. They worked for insurance companites.

    Before going back to that, people should check why society moved away from that.

  •  who knows? (0+ / 0-)

    does any one in the U.S. know just how much of America has been given away? I know the Army has become a servant-fed "Praetorian Guard" but how much more of the public sector has been privatized? Of course then the real hard question is how do we reverse it all??

  •  Competition (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    libertyisliberal

    We need to be quite clear on this... Conservatives do not want competition unless we are talking about wages.   Making Americans compete for wages with people overseas while maintaining monopolies here is the dream of every American "conservative".

  •  Free market isnt necessarily more efficient (0+ / 0-)

    I get that our government workers don't work as hard or as efficient as they should at times.  Their jobs are too secure sometimes.  Though I do believe everyone needs some job security.  So yeah, we may pay more in ways for things we need and maybe the service could be improved.  But I do not think privatization will do that.  Jeb Bush tried it with health care for prison inmates.  They had two versions, a private system in South Fl and the prison doctors up north.  They took all the really sick people, the meth addicts, and shoved them over to the public system and the easy jobs were done by private contractors.  That was his way of trying to show how privatization can be cheaper.  Its one more way they try to deceive the people.  

    As I see it there are inefficiencies that come into play with privatization.  So you hire a company to come in and do drivers licenses.  That company answers to shareholders or owners.  Those people want more money and care little about the consumer except that they do understand to keep the consuer happy to try to take more money from them (but then as stated, its not about selling products so much as predefined services that people need, not so much want).  So either they trim quality to scrape out some growth or possibly outright cheat.  Fine, so the government sees this and fires them.  What is the cost of turning that service over to a new company?      The same oversight requirements that we should have in place for government provided services would need to run in the privatized scenario as well.  Of course we know in a Republican administration it would have blinders on.  So at best you are talking about improving efficiency based on replacing a public worker with a private and the private worker will not be about improving service but improving the bottom line.  Sure, at the beginning it will be about getting the contract and doing the job right so that they can get a new contract.  As time progresses the business is out to make a buck and will do what they can to make more.  They might choose to grow through expanding and taking over more services.  Until when?  Until they have a monopoly on the services.  What then do you do if there are problems?  Do you fire them and bring in someone new?  What happens to equipment, downtime to train new people and not just one but the entire system.  Some new company is going to have to do that and thats the cost people will pay.  Right now we could do something by having some kind of quality control and some way to entice government workers to do their job well.  Bonuses or something on top of a normal base pay.  If one worker is outright bad, move them or fire them.  Make it easier to fire government workers (not for political reasons but for real substantiated job performance reasons)

    I'm not against private companies performing some things on a contract basis, but there are many jobs done by the government that are better, maybe not more efficient, handled by those who answer to the people directly.  I would rather pay more for a secure system that doesn't operate quite as efficiently as my armchair manager mind imagines than have some private company, certainly some crony of a politician doing the work. Better the devil you know.

    I'm a Second Amendment Liberal...and anyone that isn't has a pre-Bush mentality. It can happen here.

    by jrflorida on Fri Jul 13, 2007 at 09:05:11 AM PDT

  •  first time poster (0+ / 0-)

    hello.  i'm a rep and a con, but nothing close to a neocon.  please don't verbally rape me.  i'm not here to troll or pick fights or anything like that.  i'm just here to get the other side of the coin.

    •  Liberals don't attack people (0+ / 0-)

      unless they get nasty with us or try to spew Republican propaganda.

      Anybody who is polite and treats other people's ideas and opinions with respect will get the same. You're a guest in someone else's home and as long as you behave that way, you'll be respected.

      And we don't rape people. In fact many of us would be offended by your casual use of the term "rape," since it's such a hard word for many women to deal with.

      Liberals actually care about women's rights.

      We'll debate you, and some people will be dismissive of Republican talking points we all know are bogus...

      but nobody will "rape" you.

      That's Conservative Republican behavior, not Progressive behavior.

      •  well (0+ / 0-)

        i've seen it on both sides.  i didn't mean to offend by using the word rape but sometimes that's honestly how it seems.  as criminal and abhorrent as true rape is i believe that that same mentality is very present in our political system, even from the mouths of progressives.  i could copy and paste examples from this website if i needed to (i could just as easily do the same from a right wing blog).  all i was saying was that i have no interest in the condescending, slandering, political discussion that is inescapable in all US politics, regardless of the label that a group may put on itself.  there is no "reason" party to my knowledge.

    •  Also, I challenge you on this point. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      libertyisliberal

      Many Conservatives are now trying to distance themselves from NeoCons because of their economic failures and their failure to govern.

      But what's the real difference? Afterall, other than the war, NeoCons tried to cut back on government services and taxes, and failed dramatically to keep America running well.

      And everytime a Republican gets into office, they don't spend less, they just divert the domestic social spending to military spending.

      So isn't the Conservative economic agenda just a big fraud?

      Everytime a Conservative gets into office, they pretend to cut taxes, but the buying power/quality of life of average Americans is always sacrificed to the superrich.

      Many aspects of our quality of life continue to erode since the 1950's under DLC and Republican leaders.

      Bluecollar to CEO income has gone from 1:40 in the 70's to 1:400+ now. The new globalized pie isn't getting distributed. Nothing is trickling down. They're just trickling ON us.

      I don't believe that Conservative leaders are any different than NeoCons, because all Conservative leaders are rich, and they're all beholden to the rich.

      All Republican leaders fund their campaigns almost exclusively on donations from the wealthy, so they end up serving them only. That's not true of Obama though for example.

      I grant that many of the American PEOPLE who claim to be Conservatives don't think of themselves as NeoCons...

      but what happens when NeoCons tried cutting taxes, tried cutting back on social services like all the Conservatives say they want...

      and fail tragically.

      What happens now that "drowning government in the bathtub" as Grover Norquist (the ultimate Conservative) said he wanted, as all Conservatives say they want...

      what happens now that that's a proven failure?

      I posit that in an age of multinational corporate monopolies (or pseudo-monopolies), that we have nothing like a free market economy, and that replacing social services with privatized services will only allow big companies to charge more for lower quality services.

      •  Ie (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        libertyisliberal

        If the choice is between Republican corporate monopolies or Democratic government monopolies...

        in some "industries"...

        why wouldn't Americans choose the Democratic version, where at least we can affect change in the system by voting and through legislation?

        With Repoublicna corporate monopolies, only the investors (the rich top 1%) and the board of directors get to decide what policies are profitable, since supply/demand aren't the primary issues with these large corporate monopolies like Walmart or Time Warner, or the heatlhcare companies. They've cornered their markets via bullying, cooperative pricing, and buyouts.

        •  fair enough (0+ / 0-)

          "why wouldn't Americans choose the Democratic version, where at least we can affect change in the system by voting and through legislation?"
          but both systems allow for the same consequences and benefits.  the people are the ones who ultimately decide the fate of a business or a government run program.  they either don't buy the product or they don't vote for the program.  get rid of the private businesses and their corruption and it turns into government corruption.  the fact that you're outraged by the fact that "They've cornered their markets via bullying, cooperative pricing, and buyouts." is part of the free market influence.  you're not going to buy their products, other people won't, and they'll ultimately go out of business.  i know the free market is a breeding ground for corruption but washington's no garden of eden either, no matter what political party you're looking at.

          •  That's just it, (0+ / 0-)

            The people don't decide the fate of companies like Time Warner or Wal Mart. These companies can force a community to have no other option, that's how they thrive, by destroying competition and business until people literally have no other choice. That's global corporatism in a nuthsell, and it's come home to roost.

            Companies like Time Warner and Wal Mart can come in an buy/drive out their competition, and then deliver far inferior service... that's what happened in my town and in small towns all over America.

            Small town economies are dead. The only thing most  have left is Wal Mart and fastfood and large grocery chains, no other options left.

            But it happens in every industry and certainly in healthcare too.

            It's either Wal Mart or drive for an hour.

            That's why Republican economic ideology is nonsense, it's stuck in the early 80's and can't factor in global corporatism... it can't face it's failure.

            At least it pretends, since the real goal of Republican economic ideology is merely to make sure the middle class in America keep getting a smaller and smaller slice of the national pie, for the benefit of the top 5% in this "Ownership Society."

            •  but people do decide their fates (0+ / 0-)

              "These companies can force a community to have no other option"
              "people literally have no other choice"
              not true.  go somewhere else, pay more, and the local wal-mart will go away.

              "It's either Wal Mart or drive for an hour."  i suppose that's a problem because you don't want to waste your time driving or spend money on gas, right?  then complain about wal-mart's inferior product (which you and many people are doing nowadays, myself included) and they'll start selling better products if enough people demand it (if it hurts their bottom line, really)

              "Companies like Time Warner and Wal Mart can come in an buy/drive out their competition, and then deliver far inferior service... that's what happened in my town and in small towns all over America"
              bluntly put, if more people cared about a superior product they would have shopped at the local businesses.  the fact that the wal-mart exists is a testament to the fact that people want it their and accept their level of service.  it will improve when people complain about it enough.  that's how it works.  global corporatism doesn't destroy a small town if that's what the town wants.  a local business owner who's willing to sell his/her business at the expense of the small town life was probably already charging too much for their product anyway and had little interest in protecting the ideal small town and more interest in making money.  they're just as greedy as the big guys.  who gets driven out?  what do you mean by that?  no one has to sell their business if they don't want to.  give your local business more money if you want them to stay

  •  It's very simple (0+ / 0-)

    Privatizing any industry means McDonalds level service is acceptable and will probably even dominate vast sectors of that industry. That can work for things like food... or products we consume, some of them anyway.

    But in some industries, standards really do have to be enforced, and sometime there's no real way to achieve those standards without the industry becoming public.

    We see the problem in healthcare, in car recalls for example. If the lawsuit would cost less than the recall, then car manufacturers are happy to go on letting people drive defective dangerous cars.

    This is why Republicans have no economic argument. In many areas, McDonalds level quality just isn't good enough.

    We can't accept McDonalds educations without any sort of standard to say that's not acceptable.

    We can't accept McDonalds level road infrastructure or a McDonalds military.

    We shouldn't accept McDonalds rescue services (and technically we don't... although Republicans tried to make that the case), or McDonalds level healthcare for our children.

    It's really pretty simple to understand why Republican economic theory is just a big lie.

  •  Fascism: pretty much the definition of (0+ / 0-)

    Winning companies are not selected by the market; they are arbitrarily chosen by powerbrokers on the basis of political patronage. ...  Worst of all, only the profit is privatized – usually into a tiny number of already obscenely wealthy hands -- while overhead, cost, and losses are offloaded onto the taxpayer: It’s the worst of both worlds and a perfect recipe for thievery and fraud most foul.

  •  Listen Up! Real reason why privatization is EVIL (0+ / 0-)

    I've never seen anyone touch on this, and yet it's so clear.  With privatization, you have forfeited your constitutional rights.  A government agency has to obey its statutes, rules and regulations. Basically, if you have a right to a government service and are denied it, you can sue, on any number of grounds including right to due process.  However, your rights against a private company are rights in contract.  Furthermore, you need something called "privity of contract" in order to sue to enforce a contract.  A citizen under a government contract with a private entity is at most a third party beneficiary and guess what - they don't usually have standing to sue.  TA-DAH! The neo-cons have achieved their true purpose, the destruction of democracy and our constitution and the installation of a dictatorship. Because they are fundamentally anti-democratic. Remember, they believe an elite should rule, and by stealth and deception.

    Don't even get me started on the fact that there is no such thing as a free market - it's a frikking THEORY - and even under the most generous of readings, only works in the long run.  Which means you have to have harm in order to have a correction. Which means you can't plan ahead - you are reacting to disasters.  Which means you can't act with foresight and wisdom to save lives/make things better - after all, harm is just a cost of doing business now, especially when you have lost any means of constitutional redress. Most of all, we  must react instead of pro-act because, as we all know and as I've pointed out before, PLANNING is COMMUNISM.

    Sorry, I don't date Republicans.

    by wiseacre on Fri Jul 13, 2007 at 05:13:50 PM PDT

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