May 05, 2006

The Republican Mantra: Privatization of Government

The original Republican mantra was selling the guise that Government was too big and should be much smaller. They think that if Government were smaller, then taxes would be lower. Republicans selfishly think that if the liberal deadbeats were taken off the welfare roles, then they'd be able to keep more of their hard-earned money. So, let's take a closer look at that strategy (i.e. illusion, diversion, & deception) of "smaller government = lower taxes".

Reality: Republican control = Larger Government

Under Reagan, Bush I, and Bush II the size of government has grown astronomically. Only under the Clinton Administration did the actual size of government decrease slightly. But the 'size' of government is only part of the story. The 'privatization' of the government is the real story.

Obviously, the government cannot expect to be expert in all things. So, it's natural to assume that the government will contract private industry to fill in the gaps where that expertise is needed. But where do you draw the line? This is a question I've raised many times. I believe that in so many cases, our government has drawn that line in the wrong place. Now we have private industry making unconscionably huge profits off of our tax dollars.

The excesses and overcharges in Iraq are well documented, particularly with regard to Halliburton's KBR subsidiary 'supplying' our troops or putting out oil well fires. Then there's the Custer Battles fiasco. All I know is that billions of dollars are missing. That's all I need to know to know that in many cases privatization of government is a farce.

Privatization of government means that my tax dollars aren't just providing necessary governmental services. My tax dollars are also providing gads and gads of profit for the right-wing companies which secure these (sometimes no-bid) contracts with the government. Why? 'Cuz that's the American way! That's "Free Enterprise"!

The Operative Question

We have to ask ourselves one basic question... Is it better to increase the size of government enough to perform necessary governmental tasks, or is it better to outsource the tasks to private industry? There's no 'right' or 'wrong' answer to this question, nor is there a single answer to this question because it must be considered on a case-by-case basis depending on the task.

Republicans believe that the government should outsource (i.e. "Privatize") just about everything because they believe the government is hopelessly buracratic, mismanaged, and inefficient. Or, perhaps privatization affords corrupt politicians the opportunity to scam tax money from the taxpayers. I wouldn't begin to debate the incompetence and inefficiency of the US government in accomplishing any given task. After all, we all remember the $600 toilet seats. However, my contention is that by outsourcing the tasks to private industry, we introduce more complications and fail to solve the initial problems.

We failed to solve the initial problems because we're still paying exorbitantly for the governmental services such that our taxes couldn't possibly be lowered. In fact, from what I've read, it appears we're over-paying for services we're not receiving; we're housing contractors in high-cost luxury settings while our soldiers are in tents; we're paying contractors much more then we pay our soldiers; and day-in and day-out money seems to be missing.

We introduce a myriad of corruption and (lack of) accountability issues by attempting to accomplish tasks with private contractors. Such outsourcers are not subjected to the same rigorous standards & ethics that are required of our soldiers. And if they do something wrong, we can only blame & fire them, while our soldiers are court-marshaled and imprisoned for the same misconduct.

Our Democracy Privatized

This one takes the cake. It's bad enough that we're outsourcing/privatizing huge chunks of our war effort, we're also outsourcing/privatizing our democracy by contracting private companies to provide equipment and management of our election processes. This alone cuts to the very core of our democracy because it puts into question the legitimacy of our elected officials.

These private companies are openly Republican, and manufacture, distribute, & operate equipment that is secretive, unaccountable, and unverifiable. They not only provide paper-less, audit-less voting machines that have a history of malfunctions and questionable results, but they often also perform the ballot counting function which effectively shields & protects the lack of sanctity of the machines. Not only is the fox guarding the hen house, but that same fox is reporting on how many hens there are. No oversight. No checks-and-balances. No legitimacy to our democracy. This is how George W. Bush 'won' the 2004 election and this is why we're stuck with him for another 2 1/2 years. This is also why the Democrats will not win back the House or Senate or any semblance of control in Congress, despite overwhelming poll results which would support such a change.

I predict that this November will deliver results similar to the last election in 2004. Republicans will win the ballot boxes, while the Democrats win the exit polls. That is, unless our leaders in government do something about the illegitimacy of this privatization farce.


Blogger Tom said...

Scott, can you please contact me, sir? I have insider knowledge of a REVOLUTIONARY "new" method of energy generation to run by you...

3:52 PM  
Blogger Tom said...


3:53 PM  

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