Thursday, June 09, 2011

A Window on Bobby Jindal's Government

Good government types should be astounded and outraged at this. Watch all the clips.

Let me tell you something about government privatization schemes from having studied how these were done by many developing world governments as part of the neoliberal reform process. If you skirt the kinds of transparency that are absolutely essential to public accountability for government behavior, what you'll get in the privatization of public assets are backroom sweetheart deals that transfer public wealth (taxpayer dollars) to the bank accounts of corporate fatcats with deep pockets prone to kickbacks to politicians via all kinds of shady negotiations with minimal protections and benefits to the people forced to swallow such privatizations. It's essentially nothing more than raping the public on behalf of the private sector. It's a government-directed and government-forced redistribution of wealth upwards, and a government-induced impoverishment of the less-favored and less-powerful. Let's be clear: there's nothing "laissez-faire" about this process.

I want to reiterate again -- and it's something every person should know -- that the private sector is not interested in free market transparency. It is interested in maximizing the capturing of wealth no matter how that wealth is obtained. If it can reduce any state regulation that would prevent the abuse both of individuals and of the broader public good, it will do so. What drives the private sector is the bottom line. Pure and simple. Even at the expense of the public good.

You can't watch these clips of testimony without feeling sick to your stomach about the blatant deception and dishonesty that plagues government. And the Jindal administration is no exception, its claims to good government efficiency and transparency notwithstanding.

1 comment:

Eric said...

I agree with you that the private sector is generally not interested in transparency and in some cases outright opposed to it. But the government has every right (and even an obligation, since they are acting on behalf of the people) to be sharp negotiators and force their vendors to compete for business. They also have a duty to open their books to the public, so people can know, for instance, if a contract was awarded to a company who was not the lowest bidder, and find out why.

There are problems with privatization, but let's be honest: keeping these systems public does very little, if anything, to quell the influence peddling, backroom dealing, good 'ol boy'ing nature of human beings. The money still flows towards the wealthy and powerful and away from the impoverished and less-favored, because that's what money tends to do regardless of whether it is being handled by businessmen or beureacrats. It's foolish to think that private sector businesses won't act in their own self interest if given access to government funds. It's equally foolish to think government officials are going to behave any differnt (although the mechinations of their self-interest may operate using a different set of pulleys, fulcrums, and levers).

I will give you this, though: There are rampant problems with private sector firms overcharging government, especially in the defense sector, and we absolutely do need policies in place to deal with these issues. That doesn't mean, however, that privatization is a bad thing.