Government Is A Bad Manager, But Don’t Look For the Private Sector to Protect Your Interests.

by Pitt Griffin on October 3, 2014 · 0 comments

in Corporatism, Government, Politics

“Fascism should more appropriately be called Corporatism because it is a merger of state and corporate power” ― Benito Mussolini.

A man leaping the White House fence, and wandering unchallenged through the public rooms, has done far more than cause a few red faces in the Secret Service. He is the metaphorical cherry, on the cupcake of incompetence, that is the federal government.

It isn’t enough that the once esteemed  President’s Praetorian Guard has stumbled badly, with lurid tales of drinking, prostitution, welshing and forgotten bullets – it turns out that, in a further indictment of its incompetence, the agency had allowed a convicted felon with a gun to get on an elevator with the President.

The IRS is probably grateful that it isn’t in the hot seat. But hanging over their head are years of discarded e-mails.

The VA is a national disgrace.

And the NSA can’t even keep it’s own secrets.

This has happened with a Democrat in the White House, and he certainly deserves a fair share of the blame. But if you lay it all at the feet of the incumbent, you are letting politics blind you to the truth. And that truth is that the day-to-day functioning of the government is outside the President’s control.

There are several impediments to excellence in government. For better or worse, you can’t fire the rank-and-file employees in government service as easily as you can discard employees in the public sector. It’s hard to measure productivity when there is no profit. Bureaucracy is a prime example of Newton’s first law of motion (inertia). And political appointees are rarely around long enough to do much good.

Candidates for office with a business background (see Romney) promise to bring efficiency to DC. But we had eight years of the “MBA President” (Bush) with no notable examples of any improvement.

However, and this is a big however, this doesn’t mean we should subcontract out government functions to the private sector. Or get rid of government all together. There are different pitfalls to that approach.

Government – as big, messy and inefficient as it is – was founded as the peoples’ tool. The Founders knew that without it we would live in a ‘Lord of the Flies’ world. Comprised of a few plutocrats, owning the bulk of the nation’s wealth, an educated/professional class, a layer of skilled tradesmen and hordes of unskilled labor and slaves.

We would never have had the mandatory education, work rules and unionism that powered America’s growth.

Ironically, the rich and libertarian claim that the government exists just to redistribute money downward. Whereas its major function has been to keep enough civil order – and share enough wealth – so that the poor don’t kill the rich (see France, Russia China)

The private sector, on the other hand, has no duty to look out for the public. Libertarians have this cockamamie idea that the interests of the public will be protected by corporations, which see it as in their best interest to keep the customer happy. The claim is rendered absurd by an endless stream of examples of corporate venality.

But back to the public sector. I said before that it is the people’s tool. But that is changing. For that thank the Supreme Court – and the justices’ curious ideas that money is speech and corporations are people –  allowing business to buy the government’s fealty.

Just as the Secret Service was revealing its feet of clay, the SEC showed that it was all too chummy with the banking industry it is supposed to regulate. Recordings surfaced of SEC officials telling Goldman Sachs that, if Goldman misbehaved, they would be quite cross, but that they wouldn’t actually do anything.

All this leads to one conclusion. Government doesn’t do things well, but it is the only organization that at least attempts to represent the people. And that function will only stand if government is “of the the people, by the people, for the people”.

To paraphrase Winston Churchill, “Government is the worst representative of the average Joe – except for all the others”.




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