Monday, February 7, 2011

You Get What You Pay For

From Rich Abelson and Phil Neuenfeldt:
Let's start out by acknowledging a basic truth: Cheaper is not always better or more efficient. 
This is especially true when it comes to government.
If our roads and bridges aren't well-maintained, if a social worker isn't available for an at-risk teen, if there are delays in processing disability claims due to understaffing, if a parole officer has more cases than he can thoroughly follow up on, these kinds of shortfalls all have very real social and safety costs that don't show up as line items on any budget. 
It is politically fashionable at the moment to attack public workers and their unions. At the county, city, state and national level, it is easier to look for scapegoats than to offer real solutions that will create good jobs, increase the tax base and get our economy going again. 
Rhetoric that demonizes public workers, seeking deep cuts without recognizing the reality of deep consequences, does little to balance the books and even less to make sure that vital services are delivered consistently and well.
Read the rest here.

Also very much worthy of a reading is this piece by Brewtown Gumshoe:
If only we could honestly discuss the proper roles, actual effectiveness, and realistic impacts of our public and private sectors. History and our current recession have shownus the tax cut, deregulation, and privatization experiment is a  failure. Government can do, and does, many things well. A little more positive government and labor press seems a necessary corrective to the injudicious narrative we are being fed.

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