Thursday, September 29, 2011

Prophet of Profit: Governor Kasich Tames the Government Beast

Does government corrupt business?
Or does business corrupt government?
Recently we've been hearing a great deal about the great deal in store if Governor Kasich can introduce sound business principles and curb the government beast.

You know the lyrics to this song. Break the education monopoly, privatize prisons, make the firemen and police give up some of their ridiculous perks, like health insurance and those needlessly expensive bullet proof vests.

So lets look down the road and try to see what we have in store. Private prisons? Let's cut pay for guards. So what if a few more prisoners escape.

The solution? The privately-operated prison takes some of its profits to advertise. Simply claim: OUR PRISONS MAKE THE STATE 28% SAFER! Then donate some of your profits to politicians who helped you win the fat contracts to begin. Do what Reebok has been doing. Until recently, the shoe-making giant was touting the benefits of its new "toning" sneakers, 28% better at "toning bottoms."

Sales ballooned into the hundreds of millions.

Ah, but it turns out the shoes didn't work and Reebok is now paying a $25 million settlement for making false claims.

How about free market principles in schools. Tying test scores and teacher pay can't possibly go wrong. Isn't that so?

Okay, sure. There have been those nasty cases of cheating in places like Atlanta and Washington, D. C., as administrators (whose jobs depend on raising scores) push teachers to insure that scores go up, by erasing wrong answers if necessary. Why not let solid business types run the schools? You know, like the guys at Countrywide Financial or Enron. Or we can follow the college football business model, where dollars and diplomas already cross. Let's just ignore graduation rates for athletes and pursue the next billion-dollar TV contract. Better yet, let some fat-cat businessman, like the fellow in Miami, pay to hire prostitutes to entice recruits to come to your institution.

Yep: when you introduce business methods into college sports/education you also get a nice healthy dose of business ethics.

It's kind of a Bernie Madoff model.

So, Governor Kasich, let's get serious about this push for good business methods in government. We all know operating the Department of Motor Vehicles is expensive. Fire the clerks and outsource operations. Let a call center in India handle inquiries.

Press one if you would like to schedule a driver's test.

Press two if you would like to transfer a title.

Press three for replacement license four, press five, press eighty-nine...

Private enterprise is the ONLY way to go.

In fact, let's take it another step and start advertising in courtrooms and schools and on fire engines and ambulances. It's a perfect fit: "Have you been injured in an accident recently? Let the law firm of Christie, Kasich and Walker represent you."

Let's have more schools run by companies. If they go bankrupt in the middle of the year the government can bail them out. Let's have million-dollar contracts going to testing companies, who hire former legislators as lobbyists

We can trust entreprenuers to put children first. 

Like the corporations that overcharged the military in Iraq. Or the dozens of medical professionals recently busted for Medicare fraud.

One doctor was submitting billing for more than twenty-four hours per day.

See, you lazy unionzed public sector workers! That's the spirit we need: a willingness to put in the long hours to make the business model work.

The possibilites that will open up if we kill the public sector unions are endless. Turn the water works over to companies that sell bottled water (they already admit that they're selling purified tap water anyway). Sell naming rights to public buildings and bridges. Let's celebrate the virtues of capitalism and remember titans of investing and industry. The Brent Spence? Call it the Ken Lay Bridge.

That state park on an island in Lake Erie? British Petroleum State Park.

If we're going to keep taxes low, and bring more jobs to Ohio (even if they are minimum wage and workers don't have any more health insurance), we have no other choice than to turn to private enterprise for solutions. Don't stop at half measures, Governor Kasich. And don't be shy about your roots. Let's have a state government that works with all the precision and profit-making powers of the giant corporations on Wall Street.

Admit it folks: the people at Lehman Brothers and Goldman Sachs didn't get us into our current economic fix. It was that policeman driving down your street late at night, looking for signs of trouble.

It was that greedy teacher, still sitting at her desk long after all her students have gone home, trying to finish grading a stack of student essays.

They're the enemy; and Governor John Kasich is taming the government beast.

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