The Daily Sandwich

"We have to learn the lesson that intellectual honesty is fundamental for everything we cherish." -Sir Karl Popper

Location: Boston, Massachusetts, United States


Tuesday, October 02, 2007

An Object Lesson

After pointing out the story on today's "small government conservatives" both expanding government and doing so ineptly, this seemed like a suitable follow-up. A classic example of how today's "free-market conservatives" would-- in a truly competitive market-- be putting their business acumen to use squeegeeing windshields for change instead of making important decisions.

My reference in last Friday’s column, “Hired Gun Fetish,” apparently puzzled many people. My bad – I forgot that not everyone follows Bush-era privatization stories as obsessively as I do.

Anyway, it was a reference to a David Cay Johnston story from last year, “I.R.S. Enlists Help in Collecting Delinquent Taxes,” on how the IRS is turning to private collection agencies to collect taxes, even though they will keep more than 20 percent of the proceeds (compared with 3 percent overhead costs if the work was done by the I.R.S.). It’s both a stark example of privatization gone mad, and a throwback to the days of the Ancien Regime.

'Hired Gun Fetish' is also a smart description of all the Blackwater stuff that's going down this week. I really should start talking about that, although the writing was on the wall years ago. "Wanted: Mercenaries. Stellar pay, no rules/oversight, free guns. Apply to GOP." That would be the same GOP spending $400,000+ a year for each mercenary while sending actual troops into the field under-equipped, and bringing them home to inadequate health care. Wow! Brilliant businessmen and patriots!