Monday, September 13, 2010

Why I Hate Lamar Alexander Today

Lamar Alexander, former member of CCA's Board of Directors and a Senator from Tennessee, lamented over the Obama administration's failure to produce jobs in the private sector.  He claims the President is too focused on creating government jobs and not enough on growing the private sector.  News flash, Mr. Alexander; Obama is a Democrat, meaning he's not driven by an unequivocable desire to steer federal contracts to his pals in major corporations (a la every Republican administration in the past 50 years).  Further, THAT'S NOT HIS JOB, as you should well know, being a legislator yourself.  He is tasked with being Commander-in-Chief of our armed forces, and leading the executive branch of government.  If anything, you should congratulate him on creating government jobs, because that indeed could be seen as one of his responsibilities.  Nowhere in the Constitution, or any other document I've ever seen, has there been mention of the President's responsibility to grow the economy or to help stimulate private-sector job growth.  Those who want a president who stimulates our economy expect far more out of the office than it was ever designed for, or capable of.  It is the job of neither the President nor any member of Congress to help private business succeed; in fact, any government intervention in the private sector theoretically runs counter to the traditional conservative ideology that the Republican party abandoned long ago.

Mr. Alexander has a suggestion for government employees, which might be one of the dumbest things I've heard from a Senator in, let's say, the past week; "Maybe we ought to require everyone who serves in government to join one board of directors of a private company and attend board meetings four times a year just so they know how it’s done.”  Actually, Mr. Alexander, knowing "how it's done," so to speak, at a private company, is no prerequisite for having a government job.  Just because you were able to amass a multi-million dollar fortune because of your capitalist buddies and a series of lucky turns doesn't mean that you are any better equipped to serve the people of this country than anyone else.  In fact, if anything, it makes you less likely to serve the interests of the common American, with whom you share practically nothing in common, and more likely to serve the interests of the corporate elite who helped place you in the position you currently occupy.

Mr. Alexander, not everything has to be privatized in this world.  Republicans like yourself have been behind plans to privatize everything from the military to social welfare programs, all in the (at best) misguided or (at worst) intentionally deceptive name of improving efficiency.  Just the idea that a company motivated by profit can produce higher quality products or services at a lower cost than a nonprofit government entity is in itself sort of ludicrous, but if you look at the privatization of services the government used to provide, you see an impeccable track record of corners being cut, services being diminished, and costs either remaining the same or increasing once the private sector takes control.  For example, look at the mess of a situation we have in the middle east with our military contractors, or the bloated private prison system in this country.  Privatization and stimulating the private sector is not the miraculous solution to every social problem, and this author would argue that it makes many of them far more dire.  But most importantly, it is not, has never been, and hopefully never will be, the job of the government to help the private sector.

OK I apologize for going off on a general anti-privatization tangent, but I figured since Mr. Alexander speaks from a position of having worked specifically on trying to get more government funding for an underperforming, abusive private prison company, that some of my 3 readers might be interested.

No comments:

Post a Comment