If you look at your Census report, you can readily see that there is a small percentage of unemployed people in every state. But if you look more carefully you notice that in reality, there are over 75 million people who do not work, although they are older than 16 years of age. Our government's purported obsession with attaining a full employment economy has not yielded the desired goal. Full employment remains the Holy Grail. Many of those people perhaps would like to wok but are no longer counted as unemployed. Wouldn’t it be great if our government ceased looking at every issue, every program, every service, every need, every government measure, every remark... from that point of view. Attaining that full employment goal is paramount. Particularly when the economy needs a boost, government immediately thinks of creating a number of jobs to hire the unemployed and prevent unrest. If government planned for the future more judiciously, working closer with the private sector, these periods could be avoided. The average worker could lead a happier life. Instead government creates positions that do not really benefit the society other than as consumers. The paychecks are spent and the economy moves. Unrest is prevented. More careful planning would employ people in things that benefit the society and that need to be done.
The same census report will tell you that more than 22% of the population is employed by the various levels of government directly, without including all of those who work under federal, state and local, government contracts. The government employs a lot of people. So, what’s so bad about that? Well a number of things come to mind. For instance any basic textbook in management will tell you that an organizations basic goal is intrinsically to remain operative. This concept underlies many of the problems in government service provision. The people who work in the organizations know that once the problem is successfully addressed and it ceases to exist, the organization will no longer be necessary. This is a particularly pervasive problem in social services. If the government agency successfully addresses for example, alcoholism, the agency that treats alcoholics will become much smaller. If the agency becomes much smaller, the manager will manage a smaller staff; will get a smaller compensation; will be less influential. Governmental organizations do not have a bottom line like private industry. They don’t necessarily see that they have to cut costs by reducing staff or being more efficient. On the contrary, the administrator often advances in his career by enlarging his or her field of operation.
Dole has always been a champion of privatization. She often speaks about this topic. There is not reason why many government services cannot be more successfully and efficiently provided by private organizations. She is also not afraid to when necessary regulate private industry. Few are in favor of the purest hand of Adam Smith. We all like to be protected from injustice and discrimination. And that’s fine. But the private organization has intrinsic factors in it that make it a superior way to provide goods and services. Service provision by the government often results in the quality of service dropping to the quality of the mandated service. The service is provided by the government and the citizen has to like it, cause that’s what there is. For instance witness the clamor regarding our school system. One wonders how many parents are dissatisfied with whatever, in their towns’ school system. But they dare not complain for fear that their child may receive a poorer grade? Not that the parents are not often to blame for the children’s behavior. But that is often an issue in social services, in law enforcement, in many places where the government is the provider. (If you want to read an interesting story regarding Dole’s privatization efforts, look for the link to the Washington Post page about the reorganization of DC’s airports, in the “Work Experience” page.)
With new technologies knocking at our door, one wonders about this fake Full Employment goal more than ever. An average nanotechnology factory will be run by a husband and wife working a few hours in the morning. What are we all going to do with this obsession. If we don’t start reorganizing things right now, we shall go mad. I propose that we don’t wait for the nanotechnology. I think we should start reorganizing our society with other goals in mind. The goal should be, to do the job; to fix the problem. It may be necessary to plan more carefully. It may be necessary for more government officials to be more courageous and “tell it like it is more often”, instead of just saying what gets them another immediate vote. It certainly will take a different attitude from the voters. The electorate has to be better informed about the details of issues, not just the title headings and the following two lines.
...And of course there’s the problem of our government for sale. Dole is absolutely right that there should be a higher limit for presidential contritutions. There should be many more small contributors. Many other topics about government reform are of interest. For instance, the capacity of those we send to Washington. The media packages them. Most of us never really see them. We see the media package. We really don’t know... We assume lots of people know them, and approve of them because they are competent... but do we know? Can some of our representatives, really understand some of the complex issues before them? I see them on CNN and some times, I wonder. Don’t you like to have certainty that the professional you are dealing with has the capacity to do the job? This is an issue that should be addressed. New technologies call for new methods.