>Did you get fired when your system went private. You sound a little bitter.
There are a lot of folks that would rather have government run as much as possible, regardless of the quality or cost of the service. There are so many examples, like the dismally run Post Office that will lose billions every year. Who doesn't think FedEx or UPS could run things better and make nice profit? Or how about public education, where so many of our kids are not getting an education while the teachers fight for more pay and benefits every year, regardless of objective performance metrics like graduation rates or standardized test performance?
Monopolies are very bad in the private sector, but it's just fine when the government is involved, even when it comes to our kids. Double standard? You bet. In the private sector, if you don't perform your firm fails or you get fired. This is quite an incentive to perform well. In government, accountability is weak at best, whenever an incumbent favoring election comes along. Ever notice how hard it is to fire government workers or teachers compared to the rest of us?
There are many that believe that it is better to have government run things so that other don't make a profit. What they fail to recognize is that the forgone profits are going into the pockets of employees and politicians while the rest of us get poor services for the price we pay as taxpayers. You may laugh, but there are a lot of closet socialists in this country that want government to be as big as possible. In the mean time, they will bash and regulate and tax private sector firms into submission. And we wonder why there is little economic growth and high unemployment.
First time poster here. I understand your arguement: public vs private. There are some real issues around both, though. Citing the US Postal Service reference, I'm not sure they aren't run fairly efficiently vs Fedex or UPS. I do know that neither Fedex or UPS could cost out delivering a letter (to anywhere, basically) for $ .42) no way, no how; it would likely be double or triple that figure. US Postal Service has been a very relaible and cost effective service, for many years. They are caught in a very difficult place and have essentially, priced themselves out-of-business for too long. Might be too late for them, with the dramatic reduction in basic mail (taken over by e-mail). I would also argue that public educations' cost structure may in fact be quite competitive. Side-by-side, mandate-for-mandate, quality-for-quality, not sure that a private entity would do much better (over time, anyway). Do we think that the child going to a for-profit private school will turn off the TV or laptop, and instead, study? On a side note, my experience, as a parent has been quite good with the local/public schools, here in middle America. I think we tend to jump on the "government out-of-control-cost" bandwagon, perhaps, too easily and without true comparative analysis. You might be right on both counts, though. Not sure. I do know one thing..the privatization of water, is a whole different thing, and is not good on any level.
<<< the privatization of water, is a whole different thing, and is not good on any level >>>
If this is true, then why do so many municipalities privatize various services like water? Firms in the water industry like WTR have been frequent buyers of facilities and have successfully operated them for many years now. One reason is that they can operate them more efficiently and benefit from economies of scale. Another reason is that water heavily regulated at the local and federal levels. Performance isn't just about efficiency, it's about clean, safe, and reliable service. If private operators mess up, they can be fined and lose contracts and be driven out of business. Now that's accountability.
If public schools don't educate our kids year after year, they ask for more money, better work rules and better benefits. They don't like objective metrics like test, grade or graduation statistics to measure performance, making it easy to avoid accountability. Too bad for all the kids that don't get educated every year. Too bad for taxpayers and society for having to suffer the consequences of a bunch of uneducated kids every year. The teachers get tenure, great benefits and a sweet retirement accounts and they'll fight hard to keep it this way, regardless of performance. And I thought the students, parents and taxpayers were the customers.
Accountability is seriously lacking for many government monopolies. The difference between government monopolies and private monopolies is that the private ones may make abnormal after tax profits for shareholders whereas government monopolies consume taxpayer money and grow inefficient with unproductive work rules and excessive headcount, salaries and benefits. Of course, our government does its best to eliminate all private monopolies and in any case tries its best to heavily regulate and tax all businesses.
"Citing the US Postal Service reference, I'm not sure they aren't run fairly efficiently vs Fedex or UPS."
Down and Out at the Post Office
Published: August 29, 2011
Neither rain nor snow may stop the United States Postal Service, but will the abysmally divided Congress? The service is reeling toward default and urgently needs the Capitol’s help to modernize and pay its bills.
Congress allots no money to support the service. But lawmakers control its practices — particularly in shooting down repeated requests to eliminate costly Saturday mail deliveries. A combination of the recession and the public’s shift to e-mail and online bill payment has devastated the service. Amid steep declines in mail handling, deficits are running to $9 billion this year in a $67 billion budget.
To stay in business, the Postal Service is again calling for doing away with Saturday deliveries to save an estimated $40 billion across a decade. It also wants to cut more than a third of its work force — 220,000 jobs over three years — and study the replacement of 3,650 of its 32,000 post offices with locally contracted retailers.
The Postal Service has already maxed out on its borrowing limit and expects to default next month on a $5.5 billion prepayment for employee health benefits. There are proposals for a quick fix of more borrowing authority, but that hardly deals with the deepest problems.
Like any supposedly self-sustaining business, the Postal Service deserves a chance to modernize. The most controversial proposal would let it tap into a federal retirement fund that managers claim is far overpaid because of a faulty formula. That needs very careful review.
Both houses have bills at the ready and sponsors promising action, even as union forces vow to protect jobs and rural forces vow to protect their post offices. Congress needs to surprise the country and mount a swift and serious debate and then pass a reasonable menu of reforms. Americans want their lawmakers to work for the common good. And they want their mail delivered.