To reiterate, the key issue is this: not everything that is profitable is of social value and not everything of social value is profitable. The proper role of government is the latter. Those arguing for a business model for government must necessarily be ready to shut down all government functions that do not earn a profit, regardless of their contribution to our well being. And, if the public sector is being run properly, that should mean every single one. If it’s profitable, they shouldn’t have been doing it in the first place. There is no need for the government to start a chain of hamburger stands, hardware stores, or coffee shops. Rather, they run child protective services, the National Park Service, and the Air Force. Profit is the realm of business, while unprofitable but socially useful tasks is the responsibility of government.
This is not to say that every government agency is actually performing a useful public service or that it is not wasting resources (by whatever standard). Nor am I arguing that there are not many private sector activities that add greatly to our well being. The point, however, is that saying that government is inefficient because it does not turn a profit is the equivalent of saying that Peyton Manning is a poor quarterback because he doesn’t hit enough home runs. He’s not supposed to. [my emphasis in italics]
Friday, June 22, 2018
Should gubment be run like a bitness?
John Harvey shot down one of my most-disliked common cliches in Why Government Should Not Be Run Like A Business Forbes 10/05/2012: