But whereas Officer Spears et al would use this as a spur to privatize more, I’d rather just sack the lazy fuckers, get some decent employees instead and actually have government work properly - as opposed to giving up on it altogether.
You are onto something important here. I’ve been thinking about better forms of governing for a good few years now and the motif of the government understood as government institutions was gradually becoming a central point of the conclusions I reached. I am still not sure if I can express my thoughts in adequate words but let’s give it a try.
First, I think that gentlemen posting in this thread with few exceptions perhaps (like Mister Champion) understand that privatization is the road to hell. It serves well sleek politicians who like drug addicts would gladly sell family furniture without thinking about tomorrow. It also serves well Cheneys, Haliburtons and Goldmann Sachs’s of the world who in this parable play the role of drug dealers. The latest political news about the government of Greece who sold to Goldman Sachs a major portion of their future income from airport fees (like a proverbial drunkards selling their only shirt for a drink) should be an eye opener for anybody capable of thinking straight but I am afraid it isn’t. In my opinion privatization as it is practiced today is always a foolish act of selling valuable assets for a fraction of their value, it is an act of desperation of politicians who don’t know how to govern and who don’t care to govern. Contrary to what you may think my last sentence was not meant as a condemnation of “corrupt” politicians. It was meant to be the condemnation of the system we have. Politicians are not trained to govern, they are not even awarded for governing well so how you expect them to fulfill this role? Governing is a job for a professional and no amount of slogans about principals of democracy, or “by the people and for the people” will convince me to think otherwise. Speaking of which. Democracy in my opinion is human rights, freedom of press, jobs, decent services and dozen of similar things and not “free elections” and the entire stupid “pretend” game we are conditioned to believe in. We are not even good in pretending in any believable way. Take the conservative right in America. They will honor Joe the plumber, they will tell people how liberals look down on them and how much the average American understands politics and the interest of the country better than those Harvard educated lawyers. Yet, their main preoccupation during election time is to make sure that idiots, criminals and undeserving - in other words average Americans - are not allowed to vote unless of course they support the republican candidate.
Secondly, a typical government institution symbolized by a job security, pension plan and unmotivated lazy clerk is not an easy sell when it comes to promoting a health reform in this country.
But there is a third option. It exists, it’s virtues are known and not questioned and yet for some strange reason it doesn’t make its way into any serious political debate. I am talking here about professional institutions. Institutions where people make their careers based on their professional knowledge, talent and effectiveness. Where people work not for profit but for a professional salary and where the major part of award comes in pride of having accomplished something significant in your life plus well deserved recognition and respect in society.
The point is that such an institution is not a burden to the government or society. If it fails it will simply go out of business without owing taxpayers (secret American holy cow) a penny. Also, contrary to the private enterprise it doesn’t buy anything from the government and we people don’t have to sell anything in return for the services we get.
The framework for such institutions already exists in American laws in the form of not-for profit groups. During the latest health care debate such institutions surfaced in the proposal for medical co-ops and it doesn’t surprise me that - even if it defies any logic - they raised a fury on the right. Well, after the credit unions got under attack of bankers many years ago and accusations of “unfair competition” nothing really can surprise me in the political battles in America. I still think it is rather funny to claim that financial interest of the bank is equally - or more - important than the right of a person to own a checking account and ATM card without excessive fees but I must be a really slow thinker.