Privatization

April 10th, 2010

Another one about taxes (because privatizing everything is their flip side) and government.


Republicans love privatization—

They’d privatize everything if they could.

Generally, I don’t agree with things like that,

But there’s one way in which that would be good.


People want something for nothing—

That’s just the way we are.

But nobody expects free cable service

Or a free new car.


But people expect more from their government,

Even those that vociferously deplore it.

They still want all those services,

They just don’t want to pay for it.


And how about that new car

That you want to buy?

Do you think waste, fraud, and abuse

To the private sector don’t apply?


They do of course,

Even more than in government.

It’s still our money,

But they waste it with our willing consent.


Maybe that’s because companies spend billions advertising

How great they and their products are,

And how great your life will be

After you buy that new car.


But political advertising, in contrast

Turns that approach on its head.

Instead of making you feel good,

It makes you feel bad instead.


But a company that does poorly goes out of business,

Republicans reply

(Never mind that examples of “too big to fail”

That contention belie).


But democratic governments

Go “out of business” too.

That’s what voters

In elections do.


That power is an inalienable part of democracy

Without which our country would be in trouble,

But there’s a risk that voters go overboard,

And keep pumping air into that economic bubble.


Every so often, that bubble bursts,

As it did in 2008.

Obama’s doing his best to fix the Bush years.

But it may take him all eight.


Of course, the downside of privatization

Is that for-profit companies are often abusive.

They cut corners and collude to reduce competition,

Which makes the benefits of privatization elusive.


Ironically, the GOP is also against the things

That would make more privatization a success,

Like safety regulations and anti-trust law,

Which the problem of private sector greed address.


Republicans want to privatize because they say government is inefficient,

But the reverse is often true.

The government is usually highly cost-effective

In what it is allowed to do.


No, the real problem of government-provided services

Is the curse of unreasonably high expectations.

And if we can’t solve that problem,

We’ll be joining the ranks of failed nations.

***

Here’s your theme music for today, accompanied by a video I made about tax policy (go to the appropriately named My Worst Video for more background on that video and the issues therein presented). But while the video might be boring (it’s hard to jazz up tax policy), the song (You Can’t Always Get What You Want certainly isn’t. Check out the MP3 or other Rolling Stones stuff in our Amazon store, or  download it for free with the Real SuperPass free trial. For more on privatization, read our earlier piece on student loans.

 

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