Tina Dupuy Tina Dupuy, 2/9/2010 [Archive]

Privatized Bureaucracy is Still Bureaucracy

By Tina Dupuy

The knee-jerk 'government is bad' argument against health care reform, the jobs bill or banking regulations is always 'it creates more bureaucracy.' This is mainly from Republicans who want to be called lawmakers. Yes, there are people working in the government -- gladly cashing their government paychecks -- whose default is always that the government is incompetent. And admitting government can't do anything right actually, sometimes, GETS them elected.

Which is like hiring a mechanic who prefers not do anything that requires wearing overalls, using power tools or knowing what a car looks like -- but he knows a guy--

Bureaucracy is always bad, you see. It's slow, deliberate and full of well - bureaucrats. People who thrive on rules and checks and balances. A bunch of hall monitors. Form filling bed-wetters.

The alternative to bureaucracy? Privatization. Yes, the private sector is the cure-all for all the cumbersome, slow-witted, pencil pushers in the government. The sexy private sector is full of innovators we're told -- entrepreneurs. People who are moving and shaking and forward thinking. The private sector is shaping our future.

So the next time you have to call AT&T about a mistake on your bill, or your Internet going out or why your cell phone works perfectly on the Inca Trail but not in your living room, think of how much better the private sector works. Yes, after you've been transferred to the fifth person who also isn't accountable, knowledgeable or responsible for how poorly the mega-corporation is performing think of how horrible it would be to have more /bureaucracy./ And when they tell you the call is being recorded for quality assurance because after an hour of being transferred to three continents you still need assurance, smile inside that this is a preferred alternative to your tax dollars being wasted.

And to anyone who's ever been harassed for years by a billing department mix-up only to have the charge show up as unpaid on your credit report take heed, at least it's not the anal-retentive IRS with all that red tape. And when Capitol One just arbitrarily decides your APR should be north of 33%, feel pride that at least there's not a government bureaucrat between you and your banker. And the next time Bank of America charges you unlimited overdraft fees and you're left with absolutely no recourse look up at that shiny red, white and blue sign and feel the glow of patriotism because it's not the dreaded government interfering in your life.

From a consumer vantage point -- privatized bureaucracy seems an awful lot like regular bureaucracy.

Waiting in line at the court house to clear up a parking ticket is the same hour spent in line at your cable company to switch out your defective DVR. All tedious, de-humanizing, time-sucking authoritative bodies are the same to their victims. The only difference is politics. No wonder people are afraid of the government taking over Medicare (psst it's a government program). It's one giant soulless entity being confused with another giant soulless entity. The right would have us believe it's the government that's the problem and the left would have us believe it's the unregulated corporations. A privatized world is no utopia -- not anymore than a government run one is. A healthy pool of both is the best.

The difference between the government and the private sector is you don't have people pulling a paycheck in the private sector championing for more money and power to go into the government.

The only reason the government is preferable is because it doesn't turn a profit. Its motives are not to make money and it is at least successful at that. Plus in the government you and I are the shareholders. We have ownership of our government, ideally. We have a say. It's for the people, by the people. If bureaucracy is an inevitable evil, a symptom of civilization, between the private sector and government, between the DMV or Etna, I'll choose indifference over monetization.

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Tina Dupuy is an award-winning writer and the editor of FishbowlLA.com. Tina can be reached at tina@tinadupuy.com.

This column has been edited by the author. Representations of fact and opinions are solely those of the author.



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