Thursday, June 08, 2017

Privatizing the Government

Donald Trump, coming as he does from a business background, believes that a profit-driven business approach will provide better and more responsive government than the traditional model of public service. In particular, he seems enamored of the idea (shared by many traditional and non-traditional Republicans) that much of the structure and many of the services provided to citizens by the government should be "privatized" - that is, contracted out to commercial entities which, driven by the desire to maximize profits, will manage them better than a traditional government staff. For example, he has proposed to turn the nation's air traffic control system over to a private contractor, believing that it will be better-run and technologically more up-to-date.

I personally think this is hogwash, but then, I wasn't elected to run the government*. I'm also quite sure that my conservative and - especially - libertarian friends will be chomping at the proverbial bit to see this done. But let's take it to the logical conclusion ... let's outsource the whole cabinet and let commercial, for-profit companies run it. Here's what my sources tell me are the various places Mr Trump might outsource your government:

Department of State: The Heritage Foundation.

Department of the Treasury: Goldman Sachs.

Department of Defense: Lockheed Martin.

Department of Justice: CoreCivic.

Department of the Interior: Peabody Energy.

Department of Agriculture: Monsanto.

Department of Commerce: will be eliminated. There's no need for it since everyone cheats America on trade, anyhow.

Department of Labor: Kelly Services.

Department of Heath and Human Services: A consortium of Merck, Pfizer, and GlaxoSmithKline. Martin Shkreli and Heather Bresch are the leading candidates to head the department.

Department of Housing and Urban Development: The Trump Organization.

Department of Transportation: United Airlines.

Department of Energy: ExxonMobil.

Department of Education: will be eliminated. In the post-truth era, there's no point in maintaining wasteful and unnecessary agencies.

Department of Veterans' Affairs: will be combined with the Department of Health and Human Services, then quietly ignored because it does not generate revenue and simply wastes money on irresponsible people who don't have health insurance.

Department of Homeland Security: The National Rifle Association.

That's how I think it's shaping up in the mind of Mr Trump and his business-oriented administration ... what are your thoughts? Leave a comment and let me know.

Have a good day. More thoughts tomorrow, when we revisit Great Moments in Editing and Signage.


* Of course, if you look at the outcome of the popular vote, neither was Donald Trump ... although he won the election in the Electoral College.


Mike said...

Don't forget capitalistic competition. We'll have to outsource to 3 or 4 companies. Then when your plane is landing they can look for the cheapest controller company.

allenwoodhaven said...

Gee, that would turn out well....NOT!

John A Hill said...

Back in the day when the GOP took control of the Congress with Newt Gingrich's Contract with America (or was Contract on America?) there was the first big push to privatize air traffic control. The controller's union tried to steer the discussion towards a quasi-government corporation rather than privatizing the system.
Fortunately, it died a slow death.
At some point, President Clinton signed an Executive Order declaring that guarding the safety of the flying public is inherently a government function.

Shortly after GW Bush took office (and after controllers did the unthinkable and cleared the skies of thousands of flights, diverting them to land at unscheduled airports, in a matter of a couple of hours without incident--you remember 9-11?), he reversed Pres. Clinton's EO and once again there were rumblings of contracting out air traffic services.

Now, unfortunately, a younger Shuster has resurrected daddy's old plan and is again hyping the selling off of air traffic services.

It's a little scary to think that the way must government contracts work is they go to the LOWEST bidder!
That's right, folks! Air traffic brought to you by the company that says they can do it for the least amount of money!

But don't worry, the system is rigged and it will go to a few high ranking cronies and somebody will make a butt load of money. And the new corporation will use an old FAA management line from whenever they screw things up -- Safety was never compromised!

Just an FYI for your readers, I retired from air traffic control and spent many years on the Union's National Legislative Committee and many hours on the Hill explaining the pitfalls of such an endeavor to our elected officials.