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Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Rents. I believe the word is rents.

From Marcy Wheeler, whom I have not cited in ages:
POGO has a must-read report showing what actually happens when the Federal government outsources jobs: while the actual workers doing the jobs may make less than government (unionized) workers, the work costs more overall.
In other words, not only is the federal government spending a lot more by paying contractors, in the end it pays more even than the private sector for the same function.

And while limitations on the data prevented POGO from pinpointing where those costs came from, it did suggest two obvious sources: profit and executive compensation.
Let's not pretend to be shocked. We all saw what happened during the Katrina clean-up; there were even congressional hearings. The Bush administration decided not to hire clean-up crews directly: That would be socialism. Instead, if a block needed debris hauled away, a fat gummint contract went to a large corporation that had donated to the Republican party. That corporation took its (huge) cut and then subcontracted out the job to another firm. And so on. Somewhere down the food chain, someone might finally hire a truck and a dozen minimum-wage day laborers. What should have been a gig that cost a few thousand dollars would turn into a $50,000 bill (or higher) for the taxpayers.

All for fear of socialism.

Of course, crony capitalism isn't capitalism at all. Only competition keeps capitalism efficient (something we were all once taught in grade school, though perhaps no longer). In the Katrina clean-up situation, there was no competition involved -- unless you're talking about the competition to make the largest donations to the Republican party.
Exactly! Rent seeking behaviours. Fundamentally anti-market. Fundamentally against the public interest, and the national interest. And yet massively pervasive today. Almost all of Americas corporate managers are just rent seekers.

Disgusting, and universally defended as "business" by big business media, and mainstream politicians.

Its a crony country, and I dispair of it. Its ironic that Ames and Taibbi came back from Moscow and have been such successes here. The Emperor has no clothes and it was obvious to them after living in FSB controlled Moscow. The parallels are striking. Its obvious and yet 99% of this country is so indoctrinated they cant see it. A country run by Nomenclatura without functioning democracy. And I aint talking about Russian.

Sorry about the rant. But fine observation. Its the only economics one needs these days.

Joe Allbaugh, a W college crony, Repub enforcer and and Rovian operative, wrecked FEMA, left Brownie as heir to the throne and glommed on to beaucoup fed contracts for multiple Katrina clean-ups. His firm later scored some sweet Saudi contracts down the line, kind of like Jim Bath's deal w/the brothers Bin Laden. Crony capitalism gone global.
Thank Nancy Impeachment is off the Table Pelosi (R-Calif) for this.

The Three stooges, Nancy, Harry, and Barry managed to revive a party in it's twilight in only two short years.

Instead of the dog and pony health care show we should have gotten investigations into what went wrong the previous eight years and solutions (including jail time) so it would never happen again. Chris, Keith, the late Tim Russert and Maureen Dowd own some of this too.
My biggest shock upon hearing of this study was that this was the first study of it's kind. Call it confirmation bias, but I am not surprised in the least.

Many bitch about government, inefficiencies, waste, etc.. but one argument that can often be won is that of "Should this instead be done by private enterprise?" Fire/EMS/Police, public schools, road construction, prisons - these are things only the most hopelessly indoctrinated think should be run by for-profit corporations. Once you win the intellectual battle of "Are there some things that government does better? Or, for the purpose of the public good, should do as a matter of principle and/or social responsibility?" - once they concede that such situations exist, it's simply a matter of saying "Then how about Medicare / Health Insurance?" and so on; an ideological war of attrition. Sometimes it's enough to just make people reconsider their biases.
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