Bear with me as I try to work out my thoughts on this.
I can't tell if I'm being conservatively liberal or liberally conservative.
In a way, that's the point I'm going to try to make here -- that conservative and liberal values seem to get mixed up, when you try to combine government policies and programs with profit seeking private business.
There are many examples of this, from Fanny Mae and the United States Postal service, all the way down to local charities who combine paid employees and volunteers. There are even local for profit businesses who ask their employees to volunteer.
These efforts to combine social policies with private enterprise are attempts, I believe, to instill business practices to government programs with the idea that it makes them more ''efficient" somehow.
I think the opposite happens. You get the worst of both worlds.
I saw a recent discussion on C-Span, by the authors of the book, RECKLESS ENDANGERMENT,
Joshua Rosner and Gretchen Morgenson.
The following quotations from Joshua Rosner are from free-hand notes while watching, so they probably are 90% accurate in wording, but maybe slightly paraphrased. Nonetheless, I'm going to use quotation marks:
When you try "...commingling of social policy with financial markets, you create a toxic brew.
When you start handing the opportunity and subsidies to be delivered for social goals to private market players, there's going to be money that doesn't meet its target."
If private, for profit enterprises are efficient (which could be argued to some extent) they are efficient BECAUSE they are for profit.
So the conservative part of my argument is that for-profit businesses should be allowed in the free market to compete -- and hopefully not against government subsidized entities.
I also don't think private business should pretend to quasi-charities. (Or vice versa.) I don't want to get into specifics here, but I've had a number of competitors over the years who cloaked themselves in the "public interest." They'd say things like, "We're doing it for the kids. We're not trying to make money. We're doing it as a public service."
I'm immediately wary of such comments. First of all, for the Holier than Thou marketing technique. And secondly, because I truly believe a well run business is more in the public interest than a sloppily run, asking for help and volunteers, organization that is neither fish nor fowl.
The liberal part of my argument is: I believe there are many aspects of our culture that do indeed need to be addressed by programs. Poverty, hunger, health, youth, education, and on and on.
But I believe a government program which is created to help deal with these problems should be just that: a government agency. As Mr. Rosner says, such problems are better dealt with:
"...directly through government programs, which have greater control, less seepage of profit making behavior."
I think, for instance, that we should have a government run program like Medicare for the entire country -- that it was a mistake to use private insurers. I think, for instance, that the government should have taken over the big banks, Sweden style, cleared up their books, and then made made them private again.
These are hardly conservative values.
But ironically, I think, my stance on separating private from public is entirely conservative. In the old fashioned sense.
Of course, I understand -- public policy must be created to guide and regulate private enterprise.
But there is a difference, I believe, between setting up the rules and provisions for private enterprise to be created -- and having the government trying to become business enterprises themselves. A difference between trying to create an atmosphere where a project like Juniper Ridge might be created -- and the government trying to be the developers of the project themselves.
The local government seems to be really lousy at picking businesses to loan money to. Therefore, I think they need to stop loaning the money. If a business is viable, they can do it through private means. They should take those tax dollars and give them directly through no-bones-about-it charity.
See what I mean?
I can't tell if I'm being conservative or liberal.
I'm for government programs, where needed. I'm against government programs cloaking themselves as money makers. Or charities cloaking themselves as businesses. Or businesses cloaking themselves as charities. (Especially the latter.) I won't use any specific examples, because it would look like I'm against what is considered a public good.
I think this is probably a general rule. Which applies to private military getting mixed with government military, the United State Postal Service, Fannie Mae -- all the way down to the local city council and county commissions. Let private be private, and public be public.
At least that way, we can see where the money flows.
6 days ago