Carol Platt Liebau: Privatization -- Government Style

Saturday, August 19, 2006

Privatization -- Government Style

So the federal government finally decides to turn to the private sector -- because even its employees are beginning to acknowledge that private companies can work more cheaply and efficiently than the government.

Of course, the government isn't that worried about providing services to its constituents more cheaply and effectively; it's worried about getting its "fair share" of taxpayer money. That's why it's IRS debt collection that's being outsourced.

Talk about hypocrisy. We're supposed to be content with government serving us -- but when government wants it done right, it goes private.

Note: Not surprisingly, it seems that The New York Times has uncritically accepted the assertions that the outsourcing will cost more money -- but that assertion is at odds with other information. What a shock: Government (unions) don't like having their "work" given instead to the private sector. There's always a reason, at least in their minds, why it's a "bad idea," isn't there?


Blogger jpe said...

Had you bothered to read anything on the issue, you'd have seen that it's far more efficient for the government to do it itself ($.20/dollar more efficient). The problems is - surprise! - politics. The admin is claiming the Congress wouldn't authorize more agents.

6:22 PM  
Blogger eLarson said...

I've heard horror stories about a program called "DEAS" which outsources administrative staffing. While you won't get stuck with an egregiously bad administrative staffer--the upside, I suppose--neither can you reward and hold onto a good staffer since they are just as likely to be rotated out to someone who had been complaining about their crappy admin.

As for politics: who wants to go out on a limb in an election year and say "I voted FOR the IRS?" I sure wouldn't. Of course someone might be able to make some hay by explaining why it is so complicated and takes so much manpower to enforce the tax code.

11:05 AM  
Blogger Steve said...

Sometimes it makes sense to privatize some government funtions, and sometimes it doesn't. It depends on the work to be outsourced relative to government capabilities and costs. The important thing is to retain enough in-house,i.e. government, expertise to know what functions and to what extent the function should be supported by contractors. I have experienced situations where agencies have outsourced so much of their expertise that the contractor is in a strenthened position to take advantage of the government (that would be you and me). Surely we don't want that. Unfortunately the true idea that the private sector can do things better and cheaper than the government (at least some of the time)gets turned into political orthodoxy with nonsensical outsourcing goals dictated by the White House staff free enterprise priests. Add to this mix an unusally high number of political appointees, and the very relaxed revolving door policies that have been allowed to happen over the last several years, and we have set up the environment for the contracting abuses we have seen, particularly in the Bush administration.
All the best.

6:26 PM  

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