"The best minds are not in government; if they were, business would steal them away."
"The average Halliburton hand knows more about the world than the average member of Congress."
Conservatives disdain government and worship the private sector. They think that all government regulation of private enterprise is bad, and that everything done for profit will be done well. Conservatives seem to forget that the purpose of profit is profit, not public service. Business interests might line up with the interests of government and taxpayers, but they might not—especially when it comes to providing public goods and services ranging from military operations to rebuilding levees.
Related Conservative Failures
Soldiers take an oath to uphold the Constitution, and are accountable to a uniform code of military justice. But by turning over more and more of the functions of soldiering over to private contractors like Blackwater, those codes of justice evaporate—making our defenses weaker and leaving our international reputation in tatters. read more »
The very nature of government contracts require government monitors. Which gives lie to the idea that market discipline alone forces contractors to do the best job. Instead, unwatched contractors can more easily can hide their incompetence—until, as at Walter Reed, the rat droppings become too plentiful to ignore. read more »
The financial winners in a free market aren't necessarily the firms that deliver the best service. They're sometimes the firms that can do the best job of hiding incompetence from the customer—aided and abetted by the conservative obsession with eliminating the watchdogs. read more »
Government is supposed to be on the side of the people. But conservative government is on the side of business. The result is a culture of waste and corruption that demeans everybody and serves only the privileged few.
Symptoms of Free Market Fundamentalism
Sometimes regulations can be burdensome and inefficient, and work against the public interest. But conservatives foolishly insist that this is always the case—they've never met a regulation that didn't want to see slashed. This they call "liberty." But true liberty, which requires strong institutions and structures of fairness in order to thrive, is often the first casualty of deregulation. read more»
Conservatives fundamentally trust markets more than government so they kneecap the referee of market competition—government. From the promotion of deregulation to the embrace of no-bid contracting, conservatives destroy the brakes that keep cronyism and corruption from hurting the public good. read more»
One hand washes the other, and when you turn over the functions of government to your rich supporters, it isn't long before more and more of the resources of government are turned over to their corporations as well—subsidies that made a mockery of the idea of a truly "free" market. read more»
Somehow the conservative fetish for "free markets" never includes providing for the kind of huge public investments—roads, bridges, electricity grids, and watersheds—that are the basic foundation for prosperity. read more»
Conservative "freedom" often turns into payoffs—political contributions—that unlock the doors to Senate offices. The competition isn't over who can do the job done best, but who can grease the most palms. read more»