Goshen News, Goshen, IN

September 26, 2012

Privatization has its limitations

— Ever wonder why Republicans demonize “government” so much? It’s so people won’t discover the real problem in our democracy, the corporate take-over of U.S. society.  

All too often the Republican solution is to “privatize” governmental agencies. Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels wasted no time in selling our toll road and, “conveniently,” he will be out of office when Hoosiers have to pick up the pieces from this deal. Wall Street and the Romney-Ryan ticket want to unleash “the free market” to solve all problems. But there’s one catch.

Governmental agencies that provide services do not make a profit. Medicare’s management fee is just 3 percent, while health insurance companies profit by 15 to 30 percent. Our decades of privatized health care have given us a health care system the country can’t afford. Fareed Zakaria, in a recent CNN special on health care in other developed countries, declared that “the market” doesn’t work well at all for health care.

If a governmental agency doesn’t function well, citizens have a voice and can vote politicians in or out of office to solve the problem. When corporations control something, citizens have no say at all. Privatization always costs more because of the profits.

Now Wall Street wants the money in public schools. President George W. Bush initiated a testing program designed, in effect, for schools to fail. Politicians then could howl, “Our schools are failing! Vouchers and charter schools to the rescue!” In New York there are hedge fund managers running charter schools. How do parents feel about children being in someone’s portfolio and exploited for profit?

The title of Dennis Marker’s recent book says it all: “Fifteen Steps to Corporate Feudalism: How the Rich Convinced America’s Middle Class to Eliminate Themselves — From Ronald Reagan to the Tea Party Movement.” No. 10 is “Teaching People to Hate Their Government.”

— Joann Smith