I was referring to private non-profit schools (ie most of them). At any rate, those sound like practices that are already illegal and need to be prosecuted properly (maybe I wouldn't be against more government intervention if it actually did it's job well).
pizzazz wrote:Health--US is first in the world in "responsiveness" meaning, you know, actual quality of care.
According to the WHO report in 2000, the US ranked 37th in quality, despite being the most expensive system.http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/WHO%27s_ra ... re_systems
Even if your statement was true, correlation does not imply causation. That said, if you do have public health care, even just for a portion of the citizens, how do you transition them to private health care without them simply losing the ability to get health care?
If you had read my post, you would see that I said "responsiveness," not overall. "Responsiveness: Responsiveness includes two major components. These are (a) respect for persons (including dignity, confidentiality and autonomy of individuals and families to decide about their own health); and (b) client orientation (including prompt attention, access to social support networks during care, quality of basic amenities and choice of provider)." This is pretty much the only category that directly addresses the quality of health care provided by the health care system itself. And the US does rank first in that. It's 37th rank comes from a number of factors, including the fact that Americans choose to spend a lot of money on quality care, the tort system, poor health choices on the part of many, tying insurane to employment, research, and other things that drive up costs. http://www.who.int/whr/2000/media_centre/press_release/en/
I was focusing on the
So what departments could actually be successfully privatized? Either into non-profit, or for-profit organizations.
part of the end of the OP. I'm short on details on how exactly the transition would go, but I imagine in general the process for converting most of these departments would go something like this:
1. Government announces that some service (eg health care) will be privatized and gives everyone a time frame to find private insurance (ideally not tied to employment, since that makes no sense) and apply for government aid (preferably in the form of vouchers for health care rather than cash).
2. People transfer off government service over the course of several months/whatever time period, and as such employees are gradually fired.
3. Government agency ceases to receive funding/exist.
pizzazz wrote:Social Welfare--the point of such an organization, private or government-run, should be to make its own existence unnecessary. Government employees who are only paid if there are poor people have no motivation to actually get people out of poverty (non-profits would do this job much better in my opinion).
Employees of non-profit organizations are still paid, so what should change? The argument itself is pure conjecture, and I don't buy it. I don't see any evidence that people working for welfare offices are deliberately trying to keep people on welfare. Either way, how do you transition to this without leaving a large percentage of the country to starve?
I'm not sure what you think constitutes a "large percentage," but if that many people are dependent on social welfare to keep from starving, then you have bigger problems.
My point is not that all government employees are necessarily selfish to the point of making sure people on welfare. But private charities do tend to work differently (ie not passing out unmonitered cash). Lots of people donate money and volunteer time to private charities. How many donations and volunteers do government bureaucracies get? More importantly, this allows people to choose which charities, and thus which causes, they donate to. As a result, people tend to have influence over the type of aid that is provided, and so the type of aid provided, like any good in a market, reflects what those doing the donating actually want.
pizzazz wrote:Education--Government schools in the US spend amounts of money comparable to many private schools on a per student basis, and more than many religious schools, and yet produce students who are largely mediocre at best. On the other hand, look at any world university ranking. Who dominates the top spots? Private US universities.
Private US universities and Public UK universities. Also, the point I made about health care also applies to this argument.http://www.topuniversities.com/universi ... kings/2010
Also, comparing private schools to public schools in the US is problematic because public school students and private school students have very different socioeconomic backgrounds.
Again, how do you transition to entirely private universities without seriously degrading the quality of education during the transition?
Which point about health care? Correlation? American public schools (referring to pre-university level) are by and large terrible. Private, charter, and technical schools generally perform better while costing similar or less per student, for a variety of reasons--less bureaucracy and stupid government regulation, generally nonunionized teacher workforce, merit pay for teachers, communication with parents, I could go on. You can chalk some of it up to socioeconomic differences, but the success of charter schools (which generally consist of very similar student bodies to local public schools) makes it hard to really pin the difference on that.
Last year a new charter school in New York opened, with admission determined by lottery. You know the admission rate? 2%. Yes, that says 2%. For reference, most universities here are considered difficult to get into if their rate is under 25%. The best universities in country--Harvard, Stanford, etc, get under 10, recently as low as 6-7. This school had one-third or one-fourth the acceptance rate of Harvard because it represented a chance for students to get out of the New York public school system. The only reason these other students remain in the system is because there are no options in between government schools and expensive private schools, and the teachers unions have largely blocked voucher programs (despite their massive success).
pizzazz wrote:Labor--The problem with having the government enforce regulations on labor is that as the cost of labor rises, demand for it drops, and so unemployment increases. This is something that workers and unions should handle on their own.
Why does the cost of labor rise? By making working conditions better for the employees? Whether the workers or the unions cause working conditions to be better, it still costs the companies the same. Actually, I would argue that Unions have a much larger impact on the cost of labor than the government.
The cost of labor rises if, for example, government establishes a minimum wage, or minimum vacation or break time, or unnecessary "safety" regulations.
Government applies the same one-size-fits-all regulations to large groups of companies and workers, rather than letting each company and its workers decide what meets their needs best.
pizzazz wrote:Energy and water--why exactly should these be government run?
They are natural monopolies. You can't choose who you get your power and water from, so there is no competition.
You can still contract the business itself out to private companies. Then, if you don't like the service, fire them. What is your option if the government runs them? Wait 2 or 4 or 6 years and hope it matters enough to affect the election, and hope the union doesn't get in the way?
pizzazz wrote:Agriculture--Unless you show me otherwise, I'm going to assume that the government shouldn't be in the business of telling me what I can and can't put in my body.
Department of Agriculture isn't so much about telling you what you can put in your body, it's about making sure that what you are putting into your body is what you think you are putting into your body. It's about making sure the food produced isn't contaminated by poisons and harmful bacteria. I don't see how that can be privatized.
Make it optional. Then people who don't care, or trust companies, can get un-certified goods. Those who do care will look for goods that independent firms have certified as safe and effective (such companies already exist).
There also seems to be this fallacious argument, popular among advocates for larger government, that private companies will always cut quality to cut costs. While that may sometimes happen, in general, companies want to have the highest quality possible for the price they charge, as that causes repeat business. Selling bad products tends not to result in repeat business. It is much better to cut costs by developing more efficient processes, for example.
pizzazz wrote:I, personally, would prefer a much simpler tax system all around.
Yes, a simpler tax system would be great. I would like to see the only tax in the United States be income tax. Combine that with public health care, and it becomes significantly cheaper to employ people and significantly easier for businesses to profit .
You don't need public health care, just don't link health insurance to employment. Like, you know, every other type of insurance. There are other problems with health insurance as well, but that's beside (this) point.