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Tuesday, December 21, 2010

The joys of privatization

Here's a government contract gone bad up in the 'Couv.

Comments (5)

What? That's not privatization, that's just subcontracting. An independent, 3rd party organization that tests for quality based on purchasers' funding, such as consumer reports or UL, would be private. The ratings cabal sanctioned by the SEC is NOT privatization.

But nice attempt at a cheap shot.

The nice attempt is yours, Pistol Pete, trying to turn a private lab doing work historically done by the public servants into something _other_ than privatization.

Funny, the Pete Petersons of this world all LOVED the word privatization and started committees with that in the name, like the one to privatize social security. Then they found out that people could still smell the skunk underneath and were starting to recognize it by it's white striped tail, or the word "privatization" as it were. And suddenly projects that were hailed as privatization successes by outfits like the Cascade Policy Institute and its ilk were all running away from the term.

There are things that private actors tend to do better than public employees and there are things that we shouldn't let private employees within 100 miles of. Wisdom is knowing which activities go in which piles. The only way I'd contract out lab work to a for-profit enterprise is if I had a serious split-sample testing protocol in place to keep honest laboratories honest. Turns out that, as in many public/private decision points, by the time you pay for the additional work necessary to "keep honest people honest," there's no savings to the buyer, just a different way to divvy up the money (with public employees, a greater share goes to the people who actually do the work; less goes to investors).

What would be funny would be to wait until there's actually proof the company did something wrong, rather then a bunch of unsubstantiated allegations by a (tah-dah!) government employee who may have seen friends lose their jobs when this work was contracted out.

Yes, John Fairplay, we certainly must never, ever comment in response to an early news report, that's certainly always been the rule around here (and every other political blog too).

What makes anyone think that public employees do a better job than private ones?

Willamette ESD?

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