Privatization is Not a Dirty Word


July 19, 2017 11:13AM

We are at an interesting point in our culture, where distrust in government is near an all-time high, yet many people are still weary of privatizing certain programs that the government currently controls. It baffles me that citizens are saying they don’t trust the government to do anything right, nevertheless, many still want the government to control every aspect of our life. We see exactly what a government-run enterprise looks like every time we take a trip to the DMV or the Post Office, and more often than not, those trips turn out to be exasperating beyond belief with no recourse when the government messes up.

Privatizing services creates actual incentives for the people running them, which is a rare occurrence when something is left in government hands. Companies providing services would need to make sure they are efficient and take complaints seriously, because they want to keep their government contract. In turn, customers would generally receive a better customer experience. If that is not the case for most people, the company will most likely be fired and replaced with a competitor.

However, privatization needs to be done right. The contracts should all be fairly short-term and the process should be completely transparent to ensure that taxpayers’ dollars are spent wisely. The biggest issue around privatization is the penchant for some politicians to give multi-million-dollar contracts to their biggest donors, which is antithetical to free market principles. If we are going to privatize a program, every contract and bidding process needs to be publicly available for anyone to see to make sure we are keeping our politicians honest.

To be clear, I don’t think everything should be privatized, but there are clearly areas where privatization makes sense. Areas such as transit, trash, utilities, and college facilities are prime examples of where privatization makes sense. We need to stop looking at privatization as a dirty word, and instead look at it as a solution in areas of our cities and states where the government is failing us, and a private business would do a better job at a cheaper price.