Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Efficiency - in the Private Sector????

A friend of mine has raised a lot of concern about inefficiency in the public sector, especially education; at one point, my friend says: "as a lifelong educator in the classroom and at the administrative level, I can assure you there is plenty of our taxpayer $$ being wasted by poor planning, budgeting, and lack of half way decent financial skills."


He may well be right.


But I raise the following question: where, then, can we find efficiency, good planning, budgeting and financial skills?


America's banking industry?

Oh, that's right; they so cleverly invented "sophisticated" financial instruments and brought us the worst financial disaster conceivable, and then had the temerity to come to Uncle Sam with their hands out.

Big biz?

Goodness, any insider can ya' that big biz is no paragon of virtue, on any front.

Having spent a good part of my life knowing and talking with folks in various American industries - coal and steel in Pittsburgh, oil in Tulsa, the auto companies in Detroit, and the movie industry in LA - there is tons of waste, extravagance, poor planning, bad goal setting and a host of lesser sins. But it's mostly hidden from public view. American industry has no sunshine rules like the public sector.

One of the great American myths perpetrated by Reagan and Big Biz is that Big Biz is efficient, and could run government services so much more efficiently, and government is always the problem.

Horse patootie ... big time.

But myths are hard to defeat, and this silly myth of private-sector efficiency has brought us our knees, and has millions of Americans scrambling to dismantle public education in favor of charter schools, private schools and home-schooling. Ya sure, you betcha!

Every time I see a fire engine responding to an emergency, or visit a national or state park, or get a letter in the mail, I see just how efficient government is.

I'm a product of both private and public education, and while one might well promote private education for philosophical purposes, it's a total mistake to suggest that the private sector has a financial leg up on the public.

It simply doesn't, no more than anyone has a moral or ethical leg up on anyone else.

The myth is just that - a story, and not a very good one at that.

Give me the public sector any time, and give me the inefficiency of our public schools, and if we're going to improve our education, let's quit demeaning our teachers; let's start building them up, touting them as the heroes they are, and let's fully fund our schools, once and for all. And let's pay attention to the home, and let's quit being such silly hypersensitive parents who quickly attack the teacher when little Billy wets his pants.

But that's another story.

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