More ‘Running Government Like A Business’
I’ve been hearing Tim Pawlenty talk about the ‘Google Test;’ he says that if a service is listed in Google then the government shouldn’t be in that business. This idea has been rattling around the GOP brainpan for years, also called the ‘Yellow Pages Test.’
This conservative dogma has sparked fiascos across the country, as when the State of Texas fired the bureaucrats that administered the Children’s Health Insurance Program and awarded a contract to an offshore corporation started by some old Arthur Anderson beancounters out of work after the Enron scandal, (They couldn’t do the job, and 200,000 poor children lost their health coverage.) How about when Cheney and Rumsfeld decided to hire Blackwater or Halliburton to do jobs formerly done by G.I.’s, because the people wouldn’t buy into the war if it meant that their children might be drafted to serve in it. Better to spend billions on contractors and use a backdoor, or ‘economic draft’ to staff the military. What these schemes do is privatize the profits and socialize the costs. And you hear a lot of them when the Torys are in power. Rick Perry pitched a deal for a Spanish consortium to build highways in Texas to operate as toll roads. Texans used to build their own roads and drive them for free. Perry also wanted to sell off the Texas Lottery. Phil Gramm wanted Texas to buy ‘dead peasant’ insurance policies on retired schoolteachers so the state could collect when they died. The biggest scheme of all would be to privatize Social Security. This would be a billion dollar boon to the financial conjurors of Wall Street but just imagine what would have happened if Bush had pulled this off in time for the crash of 2008.
Ideology aside, the purpose here is not to save money, or better serve the public good; it’s all self serving, to feed at the public trough and dole out favors to cronies.
According to the Google Test, we ought to shut down Medicare and rely on the insurance industry to provide health coverage to seniors, as the Ryan Plan prescribes. After all, Medicare spending, adjusted for inflation, rose 400% over the last 40 years. Makes sense right? But over the same 40 years, the cost of private health insurance has risen 700%. If you ‘follow the money,’ you find that the GOP receives the lion’s share of contributions from insurance and pharmaceutical interests, which totaled over $70 million last year.
These so-called conservatives really do want to run government like a business, but that business is a chop shop, where they steal your car and break it down to sell off the parts, sort of like Mitt Romney’s vulture capital business does. It’s like junkies that destroy thousands of dollars worth of electrical work so they can sell the copper as scrap. Good business model?