Governments should do only those things that cannot be done more efficiently by the private sector, e.g., provide for common defense, courts; facilitate trade, i.e., those things allowed by our Constitution! Allowing competition usually results in the best product or service for the least cost.
Therefore it is suggested that our medical and postal systems be privatized by cutting down their Federal subsidies over the next four years as well as the Departments of Agriculture, Energy and Education. The fundamental reasons are summarized below.
1) Our medical system is already highly regulated by the government and has greatly increased our medical costs. To illustrate, Richard D. Jones has a bad back. A doctor prescribed a back brace which costs $132.00 retail. But a claim for $1,201.00 was submitted to Medicare. Medicare approved $900.55 and paid $700.17. Supplemental insurance paid $200.38, so $900.59 was paid for a $132.00 brace because of government regulation and mandates. Without it, the cost would be 84% less!
2) The main purpose of the Department of Agriculture is to subsidize inefficient farmers so the rest of us pay more for food. For the record, I grew up on a farm and we refused all subsidies.
3) The Department of Energy has contributed greatly to increased pollution and the cost of energy by restricting the production of the safest, least costly, most environmentally friendly form of energy available, i.e., nuclear power, and limiting the production of other forms of low cost energy. The recent Gulf oil spill can be directly attributed to government policies forcing oil companies to drill in more dangerous deep offshore locations.
4) Ever since our Department of Education was established, the quality of education in our country had decreased markedly. Literacy rates were much higher prior to the establishment of public education and as were moral and ethical standards. Most charter schools and home schooled children significantly outperform public schooled children at significantly less cost. A major reason is meddlesome bureaucracy. For example, there is one administrator for every two teachers in North Carolina public schools. The educational bureaucracy makes it more difficult for our teachers to teach.
5) Despite its huge infrastructure advantages, the government-subsidized post office is so top heavy with highly paid bureaucrats that it cannot compete with FedEx or UPS. If it were allowed to go bankrupt and reorganized without the costly bureaucracy, it would be more efficient and less costly.
Liberal government policies have caused the financial crisis we now are experiencing. The tipping point was encouraging and sometimes forcing banks to give mortgages for no money down to people who did not have to give any evidence of ability to pay, a major reason that we are in the mess we are in. Will we elect representatives with the intelligence and courage to undo this mess?
James F. Davis is the president of Accuracy in Academia and the author of this guest column.