Sunday, January 22, 2017

The three things we can count on the business party to do

I used to think that there were two things we could count on the business-oriented party to do whenever they were in power. First, reduce taxes on the rich. Second, reduce regulations on corporations.

I have come to realize that there has always been a third objective: privatize government functions so for-profit corporations could rake in tax money.

The business party presents privatization as a way to do things more efficiently. What usually turns out, though, is that the government was doing it about as efficiently as private industry would. What the government doesn't have to do, though, is make a profit at.

Therefore, what privatization amounts to is giving businesses the governments cost of achieving a public end, plus a guaranteed profit.

Oh, and the privatizing businesses are always big donors to the business party.


Anonymous said...

Beau, you often epitomize yourself as an "Intellectual", perhaps even in a perfect example of vanity. You as such a self identified extraordinarily gifted intellectual, I would think that you would be a bit less close minded. I urge you to not be blinded by the Forrest and see the trees. Open your mind and eyes and find some commonality and reason in our great country.

Mac said...

Your observations regarding Objectives 1 and 2 are valid to a point.

With respect to Objective 1, I would add that the “other party” can be counted upon to raise taxes on the “rich.” The problem is that in order to pay for their multitude of programs, the must define “rich” in such a way as to reap the greatest tax revenues, and that means that the middle class gets hit hard. When that happens, the taxpayers see the “other party’s” programs as nothing more than what it is: redistribution of wealth to a favored political base. The Romans did the same thing with bread and circuses.

Looking at Objective 2, you are factually correct, but well off the mark from the point of constitutional law and pragmatism. Until the New Deal replaced constitutional law-making with delegated rule-making, the body of federal rules and regulations was fairly small. With the advent of big government and its multitude of programs, the ability of the Congress to pass well-defined laws was overwhelmed. Thus, Congresses dominated by the “other party” passed broad and ill-defined programs and then delegated to the myriad alphabet agencies the authority to add muscle, sinew, and fat to those bare-bone laws. In many cases, fat prevailed. This required a huge bureaucracy, which, in turn, issued more and more “regulations” as an institutional job preservation program rather than from any need or public good.

At the same time, the “other party” sold itself to the largest of trusts—unions, especially “public employee unions". If unions were subject to the same anti-trust rules as business, there might be some protection for the taxpaying public, but the “other party” effectively controlled the national legislature for over 40 years (60, with only one, two-year exception in 1953-54) and made sure that unions--and baseball--were exempt from the protections afforded by anti-trust laws.

Privatization. Your argument is stronger here. I would suggest only that you have not factored in the “profit” to the “other party’s” political supporters, the bloated bureaucracy. For example, after the attacks on 11 September 2001, the newly created Department of Homeland Security included the Transportation Security Administration—but only after the “other party” insisted that the employees of that agency be unionized.

Some of us can still remember a time when most government offices, even in large cities, needed only the extra space in a post office or courthouse to do their work. I agree that when government creates a trough of “free money”, the pigs will run for lunch. But…and this is a biggie…not all of the pigs come from the private sector.