Idea to trim size of US Government

Posted:
in General Discussion edited January 2014
I was thinking the other day about how inefficient the US Government is. Billions of dollars (probably tens of billions or hundreds of billions) are wasted each year due to inefficiency. One way to help it become more efficient would be to privatize various parts of it. I though of one example and wondered if it could work.



The US Government could spin off the US Postal Service into its own business, something like a utility. They would be allowed by law to have a monopoly on local mail service, but would have to ask congress (as they do now) for any postal rate increases. By spinning it off, they could sell stock to make it a truly publicly owned corporation. This could raise billions of dollars quickly with the sale of that stock. The Postal Service would then need to report to its stockholders on its annual performance.



I could go on listing pluses and minuses, but I think that it would be a much bigger plus overall to spin it off. What do you think?
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 27
    scottscott Posts: 7,431member
    The unions wont allow it.
  • Reply 2 of 27
    dmzdmz Posts: 5,775member
    The problem with that is that we, the people, give Congress two conflicting messages:



    Hey! what the hell are you doing cutting my entitlement (or program)! How DARE you not increase my budget!



    -and



    Why the hell are my taxes so high!! Tax someone else!!







    (it's enough to confuse anyone)
  • Reply 3 of 27
    pfflampfflam Posts: 5,053member
    The US Postal Service is a thorn in the side of all you privatization rhetoric clones . . . mainly because it consistently manages to be absolutely effecient and to turn a profit . . . last I checked that is.



    Perhaps if we hadn't thrown money down holes such as the ideologically driven calamity called The War In Iraq

    or if we wouldn't flush gobs of cash down the 'stars wars' or 'missile defense Initiative' we might be able to fund the needed repairs to our crumbling infrastructure

    Perhaps if we HADN'T privatized so much of the militaries support infrastructure we wouldn't be throwing cash down the completely corrupt gullets of mega-corporations like Halliburton



    Privatization is not the panacea that so many of you ideologically blinded Rush-radio DITTO heads think it is . . . it is good in many cases but also, and few of the neo-con persuation can see this, it is also, in many cases, a straight road to curruption, especially when it is hand-in-hand with deregulation.

    Balance is needed, and a sense of civic responsibility beyond the 'bottom line' . . . but that is asking too much.
  • Reply 4 of 27
    airslufairsluf Posts: 1,861member
    Kickaha and Amorph couldn't moderate themselves out of a paper bag. Abdicate responsibility and succumb to idiocy. Two years of letting a member make personal attacks against others, then stepping aside when someone won't put up with it. Not only that but go ahead and shut down my posting priviledges but not the one making the attacks. Not even the common decency to abide by their warning (afer three days of absorbing personal attacks with no mods in sight), just shut my posting down and then say it might happen later if a certian line is crossed. Bullshit flag is flying, I won't abide by lying and coddling of liars who go off-site, create accounts differing in a single letter from my handle with the express purpose to decieve and then claim here that I did it. Everyone be warned, kim kap sol is a lying, deceitful poster.



    Now I guess they should have banned me rather than just shut off posting priviledges, because kickaha and Amorph definitely aren't going to like being called to task when they thought they had it all ignored *cough* *cough* I mean under control. Just a couple o' tools.



    Don't worry, as soon as my work resetting my posts is done I'll disappear forever.
  • Reply 5 of 27
    thttht Posts: 2,986member
    Idea to trim the size of government?



    Take the power of the treasury away from elected politicians. The only people who can spend money are a multi-partisan group of career economists. The only thing the elected politicians can do is determine where the money goes.
  • Reply 6 of 27
    jubelumjubelum Posts: 4,490member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by pfflam

    ....you privatization rhetoric clones . . .

    you ideologically blinded Rush-radio DITTO heads




    Sterotypes ROCK!



    (Though you are correct about the corruption that emerges from privatization. Just makes us answer the question- so we want corrupt corporations with our money or corrupt politicians buying votes with our money? Hell of a situation we got there. )
  • Reply 7 of 27
    pfflampfflam Posts: 5,053member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by Jubelum

    Sterotypes ROCK!



    especially when they are so perfect and easy to throw around



    and especially when those that get offended do so because of recognition . . .
  • Reply 8 of 27
    jubelumjubelum Posts: 4,490member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by pfflam

    especially when they are so perfect and easy to throw around



    and especially when those that get offended do so because of recognition . . .




    I'm not offended. You could have stated any stereotype... it just perpetuates the "us vs. them" mentality on this board. We are individuals here, with varying opinions and many facets. That's all I am getting at. Nazi's thought their stereotypes were perfect. That does not make them right.



    Feel free to p-flame on if it makes you feel better. I'm not here to change your mind, just asking you to consider your approach. "You Ditto-whatever" or "you Mexicans" or "you pinkos" or "you Sneetches" is lumping individuals into nice categories- easy, but does not respect the varying opinions or ideas that each person holds. There are some people who consider themselves hardcore ideologues, who I have found common ground with. It's not so hard to do:



    As stated above, I think you are generally correct in your analysis of the topic.
  • Reply 9 of 27
    pfflampfflam Posts: 5,053member
    Sure, yeah, I know bad-me
  • Reply 10 of 27
    fran441fran441 Posts: 3,715member
    It's a terrible idea. Sorry, but you're going to have big corporations making large campaign donations in order to land contracts to run certain parts of the government. Plus, look at all of the scandals in corporate America in the last 10 years. Why wouldn't the numbers wouldn't be cooked to make a better profit for those corporations?



    You also have American corporations sending jobs overseas to increase profits. I'm sorry, but I don't want to see my tax information not only filed in India, but processed there as well. Those are American jobs being lost.



    Look at Haliburton in Iraq right now. They are making billions of dollars and the simplest of jobs aren't being done. A water filtration system due to be installed last May in Baghdad still hasn't been put in. Power is still out in parts of the country due to last year's bombing. They didn't even have to bid for the contract and Vice President Cheney is still on their payroll to the tune of just about $100,000 a year. What would happen if these private organizations were trying to do this here at home?



    No doubt there is still a lot of money being wasted each year in the budget, but the big cash cow is the military and that will *never* be privatized. How do you tell the military they can't have their $400 Ash trays?



    Everything right now that needs a government contract has to be bid on by private organizations and the contracts are awarded to the companies that put in the lowest bids.



    Plus, can you imagine what would happen if there was some kind of disaster and the federal government had to reappropriate money from the postal service to provide aid to a disaster ravaged region? I guess "US Postal Service stock" would tank.
  • Reply 11 of 27
    Quote:

    Originally posted by Fran441

    It's a terrible idea. Sorry, but you're going to have big corporations making large campaign donations in order to land contracts to run certain parts of the government. Plus, look at all of the scandals in corporate America in the last 10 years. Why wouldn't the numbers wouldn't be cooked to make a better profit for those corporations?



    In this case, the USPS would be publicly owned. There are no governmeent contracts.



    Quote:

    Originally posted by Fran441

    You also have American corporations sending jobs overseas to increase profits. I'm sorry, but I don't want to see my tax information not only filed in India, but processed there as well. Those are American jobs being lost.



    I don't see the connection, how could local mail service in the US be done by people in India? I didn't say anything about the IRS.



    Quote:

    Originally posted by Fran441

    Look at Haliburton in Iraq right now. They are making billions of dollars and the simplest of jobs aren't being done. A water filtration system due to be installed last May in Baghdad still hasn't been put in. Power is still out in parts of the country due to last year's bombing. They didn't even have to bid for the contract and Vice President Cheney is still on their payroll to the tune of just about $100,000 a year. What would happen if these private organizations were trying to do this here at home?



    As I said, it would be run more as a utility, such as electricity.



    Quote:

    Originally posted by Fran441

    No doubt there is still a lot of money being wasted each year in the budget, but the big cash cow is the military and that will *never* be privatized. How do you tell the military they can't have their $400 Ash trays?



    I said nothing about the military. That is a beast unto itself.



    Quote:

    Originally posted by Fran441

    Plus, can you imagine what would happen if there was some kind of disaster and the federal government had to reappropriate money from the postal service to provide aid to a disaster ravaged region? I guess "US Postal Service stock" would tank.



    The point is that the US government wouldn't be subsidizing/running the postal service, although it would have to pay its bills to send out all of those mailings. The postal service would be answerable to stockholders, not the government (outside of regulation, which it already has to deal with).



    I did not propose privatizing other parts of the government. I consider most areas run by the government to be more tricky to privatize, such as the SSA. IMHO, the USPS could be spun off with relative ease.



    BTW, if one were to continue to follow your argument, they could say that the government should own and run all utilities.
  • Reply 12 of 27
    bungebunge Posts: 7,329member
    The USPS isn't a burden on the government. The biggest money pit in the USPS is actually management.
  • Reply 13 of 27
    sdw2001sdw2001 Posts: 16,909member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by Fran441

    It's a terrible idea. Sorry, but you're going to have big corporations making large campaign donations in order to land contracts to run certain parts of the government. Plus, look at all of the scandals in corporate America in the last 10 years. Why wouldn't the numbers wouldn't be cooked to make a better profit for those corporations?



    You also have American corporations sending jobs overseas to increase profits. I'm sorry, but I don't want to see my tax information not only filed in India, but processed there as well. Those are American jobs being lost.



    Look at Haliburton in Iraq right now. They are making billions of dollars and the simplest of jobs aren't being done. A water filtration system due to be installed last May in Baghdad still hasn't been put in. Power is still out in parts of the country due to last year's bombing. They didn't even have to bid for the contract and Vice President Cheney is still on their payroll to the tune of just about $100,000 a year. What would happen if these private organizations were trying to do this here at home?



    No doubt there is still a lot of money being wasted each year in the budget, but the big cash cow is the military and that will *never* be privatized. How do you tell the military they can't have their $400 Ash trays?



    Everything right now that needs a government contract has to be bid on by private organizations and the contracts are awarded to the companies that put in the lowest bids.



    Plus, can you imagine what would happen if there was some kind of disaster and the federal government had to reappropriate money from the postal service to provide aid to a disaster ravaged region? I guess "US Postal Service stock" would tank.






    1. Private industry is the backbone of the American and western global economy. Privitization can be very good.



    2. Haliburton--Cheney on the payroll? Link? Either way, Haliburton is one of the only companies in the world that can do what needs to be done over there.



    I don't agree with the idea of privitizing the Postal service. Though, I should also say it's not in good shape and hasn't been. It's NOT doing well. I hear postage is going up AGAIN...this time 41 cents.



    If we want to cut government waste, let's start with getting a line-item veto. That's the beginning.
  • Reply 14 of 27
    Quote:

    Originally posted by SDW2001

    I don't agree with the idea of privitizing the Postal service. Though, I should also say it's not in good shape and hasn't been. It's NOT doing well. I hear postage is going up AGAIN...this time 41 cents.



    If we want to cut government waste, let's start with getting a line-item veto. That's the beginning.




    If it were publicly owned, rather than run by the government, I expect that it would more efficient.



    As for a line-item veto, it was given to Clinton, but found to be unconstitutional.
  • Reply 15 of 27
    thttht Posts: 2,986member
    I'm a civil servant and have some experience with contracting, and my experience tells me that contracting major "government" services out to private business will be twice as expensive as civil servants, if not more. Privatization may be good, but I have no doubt that it will cost more.



    Having an incorporated, public business that is beholden to shareholders only means that the business will try to maximize the amount of dollars for the work done, not the other way around. It's actually never the other way around, even in the free market. Also, in terms of contracting, the gov't does not play on a level playing field and is not treat considered as another business. It cannot without payment for a crappy job done or for a malfunctioning product, for instance.



    It doesn't mean I think that the gov't should provide all services. Gov't is notoriously slow for a variety of reasons, "legacy support" probably being the prime one, and a fresh start that a private business starts from is often better.
  • Reply 16 of 27
    brbr Posts: 8,395member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by THT

    I'm a civil servant and have some experience with contracting, and my experience tells me that contracting major "government" services out to private business will be twice as expensive as civil servants, if not more.



    Please back up your claims with something more than mere anecdotal evidence.
  • Reply 17 of 27
    thttht Posts: 2,986member
    For example:



    Supply deal results in sky-high costs for NASA



    NASA has overpaid by an average of 24% for computer accessories and supplies purchased through a five-year-old desktop IT outsourcing arrangement, according to a recent audit.



    I've been living it for those years (as described in the article) and the cost of computer support seems to be ~$1000 per desktop per year including refresh every 3 years, software licenses, support and admin. The typical computer is a ~$900 Dell with Microsoft Office.



    For others, like engineering services, the cost ranges about $150k to $300k per engineer per year. The engineer typically has a salary 2 or 3 times less while the rest covers some sort of overhead. I can't imagine what it is like for the budget-rich DoD.



    I don't understand what so hard to believe about it.
  • Reply 18 of 27
    brbr Posts: 8,395member
    Sounds like those in charge of making the deal are incompetent. Sounds like they need better negotiators and a better bid process. That doesn't mean all outsourcing is too costly.



    Come on...a nine year deal? Give me a break. That's retarded. Don't blame privatization for this. Blame the retards that signed the nine year deal.
  • Reply 19 of 27
    splinemodelsplinemodel Posts: 7,311member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by Jubelum

    Sterotypes ROCK!



    (Though you are correct about the corruption that emerges from privatization. Just makes us answer the question- so we want corrupt corporations with our money or corrupt politicians buying votes with our money? Hell of a situation we got there. )




    I would argue that the most corrupt organizations are all state run. Any organization that is in competition has less room for corruption. There are, in fact, very few corrupt business operations in this country. In competition with UPS, FedEx, many other carriers, and growing technology, a private USPS would have a tough time being corrupt without dying first.



    Hell, ever heard of pork barrels? Even congress is corrupt, and that's at the top.
  • Reply 20 of 27
    scottscott Posts: 7,431member
    I'm not finding THT's example compelling. There's no incentive for your average government worker to reduce costs and operate more efficiently. The IRS has been trying to get off legacy computer systems. Project delays and cost overruns leaves the project in a bad state. Now if a business had to modernize or close up shop one way or the other it would be resolved. I don't think the IRS is going to lose business anytime soon.
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