The Problems of Government
08 August 2017 | Pago Pago, American Samoa
Government does what the private sector cannot or won't do on its own that people and the government decides needs doing. The private sector won't do anything that is not profitable to it. That includes much that needs doing. Our defense, for an example.
Government also engages in collective activity the private sector usually can't do as efficiently or as well. An example here is health insurance for the elderly or Medicare. Although it is paid for by a special payroll tax on all, it and much such collective activity the government does is mistakenly called Socialism by ignorant conservatives/republicans/libertarians who don't know what the word means.
Collective activity requires sub group participation, oversight and coordination that the private sector, as geared to profit, is not very good or efficient at. It cares more about its profit than doing the collective activity and management well. Regional water supply management is an example. Fire department services, another.
This is not to say government cannot contract out to the private sector some parts of the work required by collective activity, but the function still remains governmental. Contracting out nationally, as in defense or healthcare, for examples, are large problems. Here is why.
Whenever private sector firms, motivated by profit, can deal with a large government for contract services, in the US they strongly tend to charge much more than they should. Greed and dishonesty, hallmarks of Americans, take over.
Governmental policing of that dishonest overcharging becomes a major national problem. Competitive bidding helps but often it is not done or done poorly or collusively. Worse, by under-the-table bribes or other inducements, which are often impossible to detect or discover, governmental employees become corrupted by private sector businesses and act against the public interest by aiding members of the the private sector in over-charging the government, thereby injuring the taxpayers.
This is the core and biggest problem of US government. And it traces straight back to the basic dishonesty of the for-profit businesses dealing with our federal government. Northern European governments are not so afflicted with this problem. Banana republic governments are.
The problem now is worse than ever because dishonesty is having its heyday with Trump and his cronies in leadership positions. They set the standard for maximum dishonesty and the nation follows, especially the US business community. Dishonesty is the government's and nation's biggest problem, I submit.
We are a nation of liars racked with greed.