Special Issue on PRIVATIZATION



Some thoughts on the serious national issues that effect us all

For more than a decade, the band of misfits known as the “conservative right” have been escalating their cry for “Privatization” in the realm of where government finds itself providing human services - with the sophist argument that private industry can do things so much more efficiently than government. More than that, both openly and surreptitiously, that political force has been driving this concept to what could only be its ambiguous yet ultimate conclusion, which, to quote leader of the movement, is to “privatize everything, and to shrink government down to where it could be drowned in a bathtub!”. However it is not until you take a careful look at modern U.S. history, that you realize how successful they've been.

In 1971 they succeeded in privatizing the postal service - at a time when the price for mailing a letter was 8¢. Now, of course its 45¢, and will be raised again in January. They've privatized a major portion of the nation’s prison systems, to the point were privately run prisons have been transformed into a major industry - an industry which has since amassed enough money to buy politicians who would then press for more custodial laws, with longer prison sentences - and to suppress any effort at de-criminalizing the use of marijuana. So that now, fully half of this country’s prison population is drug-related. Then too, as witnessed throughout the Iraq War, in addition to the 150,000+ U.S. military personnel, the government actually went on (in part to mask the true cost of the war - by keeping that cost off of the books) to hire a parallel private army of 30,000+ mercenaries - largely from a company named Blackwater. This is a company which has since been obliged to change it’s name to “Xe”, after that organization’s hellish, and highly publicized massacre of Iraqi civilians.

Now that very same political force has determined that the time has come to go for the really big programs - Social Security and Medicare. If they succeed, the result will be a monumental windfall for all the major brokerage firms in the country - a windfall sufficient to trigger revenues beyond their wildest imaginings. And Medicare? With the coincident repeal of Obama’s healthcare plan, the health insurance industry will find themselves once more, literally awash in money - and their Chief Executive Offices will be able to double their present salaries, of $50,000 PER DAY.

As with so many other issues that confront us, in this modern complex world, I’m again disheartened at the seeming inability of the public to recognize a blatant scam being unrolled before their eyes. Worse yet, I am amazed that our renowned “fourth estate” - the news media - has yet to spot so obvious a scheme! One should be surprised that the concept of “privatization” would not raise concerns. On the surface, and economically minded citizen may feel that it will produce jobs and stimulate the economy. However, upon breaking down the concept to see its actual economic effect, the concept would fill any reasonable person with TERROR. In fact, this legitimate question should actually be applied to any politician who’d propose such a scheme... “YOU’RE KIDDING ME - RIGHT?!” (...Amid a fit of uproarious laughter) All that anyone has to do is to spend a serious two minutes of focused thought, to realize two simple, and unnerving truths.

First: To “privatized” any governmental provided social service, must certainly cost the tax-paying public, as much for a private company to do it, as the government spends - plus the cost of what the private company would demand- all for it's own profit.

Second: When any “private - for profit” enterprise provides a service, their primary interest and intent is exactly one thing- profit! And to satisfy that primary intent, sooner or later such an enterprise will strive to enhance their profit by providing the least amount of services at the highest possible price-tag, with the least possible expense! Result? The taxpayer will find himself paying more and more in taxes for less and less value, in any kind of social service. And the profiteers of business will get richer and richer.

Anecdote: A newspaperman once asked Neil Armstrong what his thoughts were, as he was sitting in his space capsule, waiting for blast off. Mr. Armstrong’s Response was quite telling... “Everything in this whole machine, was built by the lowest bidder.” Even so, that ethos put a man on the mood, and has resulted in valuable research and development, which moved the United States of America forward as a world leader in technology and industry. I digress.

Is it really beyond reason to ask a simple question: “Who or what is fueling this conservative movement, while at the same time pressing politicians to do their bidding? Ask yourself, for example, why big-money people want to see nearly everything privatized? Could it be because those big-money people, (if their bought politicians are successful) would stand to make huge amounts of money on a world full of newly created enterprises?

Then too, as an added bonus from such a success, those big-money people would also realize “a government small enough to be drowned in a bathtub” - a government that’s far too small to break up monopolies - too small to stop those smoke-stack industries from poisoning the air, and polluting our water, and glutting the atmosphere with greenhouse gases. Or does the reader truly believe that multi-million dollar contributors to political campaigns, are simply “civic-minded” philanthropists?