Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Rescue but for a profit motive

I've been saying for some time that health care and education should not be subjected to the profit motive. My first post about it was back in 2008. Both are distorted by the bottom line, meaning decisions are made for other than robust health and comprehensive education.

Paul Buchheit of Common Dreams lists eight areas, including health care and education, where the profit motive, also known as privatization, are creating disasters in public life. I'll list them here with a bit of explanation. I'll let you read the original article for details and stats.

Health Care. Ours is the most expensive in the world. Yet the most cost effective care in American is Medicare. One wonders why the salaries of CEOs of health systems are over ten times the salary of the Medicare administrator. Add in stock options and income can be over 300 times as much.

Water. Privatized systems charge 80 percent more for water and 100 percent more for sewage service. These companies make huge profits.

Internet. National systems, such as in South Korea have internet systems that are 200 times faster for half the cost.

Transportation. Privatized systems come with fare increases and elimination of unprofitable routes, leaving some riders without access. Bus drivers face longer hours at reduced wages.

Banking. Compare the deceit and depravity of Goldman Sachs, Wells Fargo, JP Morgan Chase, and Bank of America, with the solid performance of the publicly owned Bank of North Dakota. Yeah, a socialist bank in a red state.

Prisons. The goal should be to rehabilitate prisoners and gradually empty jails. But business is too good. Private prisons are worse in violence within, rehabilitation efforts, and prison conditions.

Education. Charter schools have not shown to be better, and have teachers with less experience and pay. The emphasis shifts to education as assembly line.

Consumer Protection. Privatized consumer protection means no consumer protection. A recent example is that Texas fertilizer plant explosion that hadn't been inspected for 25 years.
As summed up by US News, "Private industry is not going to step in and save people from drowning, or help them rebuild their homes without a solid profit." In order to stay afloat as a nation we need each other, not savvy businesspeople who presume to tell us all how to be rich. We can't all be rich. We just want to keep from drowning.
The first comment was that the author forgot the private funding of Elections.

Britain is considering a bill that would require Parliament to get public feedback (permission?) before privatizing a service. In spite of the ideology of "private sector efficiency," public services tend to be better quality, lower cost, and more accountable. I think the disconnect is those who want to privatize claim market efficiencies which don't materialize because the new business is a monopoly.

No comments:

Post a Comment