When is Private Public, Redux

Federal News Radio (I’m sure you have this station on your Pandora playlist…) reports

Government contractors and subcontractors may have a new avenue to report wrongdoings at federal agencies, if a new rule being floated by the Office of Special Counsel is put in place.

OSC announced Thursday that it was seeking input on a possible revision to regulations covering the disclosure by employees working under federal contracts of wrongdoings taking place at federal agencies.

File this under “We noticed that damn few actual employees currently do the government’s work.” If oversight is going to occur, it needs to occur in places where government work is being done, and that is increasingly in the private and nonprofit sectors.

Contracting is so pervasive–and its problems so numerous–that In the Public Interest sends out a periodic “outsourcing scan.”

The most recent included dozens of entries, from prison riots in Texas protesting inadequate medical care in that state’s privatized prisons, to Pro Publica’s documentation of the lack of accountability and oversight of charter schools (conclusion: “Bad schools have been allowed to stay open and evade accountability”), to a recent report from the Federal Accounting Standards Advisory Board warning of risks to the public from “public private partnerships.”

Just more evidence–as if any more was needed–that the fervent belief in the superior performance of the private sector has more in common with religion than with evidence.

In both cases, questioning is confused with blasphemy.


  1. Fox hounds and Reaganites have been relentlessly taught that government is the problem which processed through their secret decoder ring translates to capitalism is always good, socialism always bad because the rich can’t become richer through it.

    They are so obedient none ever ask why. Why do we need to enrich the rich?

  2. How did my favorite Republican, Mayor Bill Hudnut, manage to accomplish so much in this city without privatizing, outsourcing, leasing or selling off this city and the work that needed to be done. We city/county employees got it done; making progress the whole way. Mayor Bill is a good argument for cloning:)

  3. Does private industry do better than government? Which rest stop would you rather use, one with government operated toilets in a government operated rest area on a government operated interstate highway, or the toilets at one of the private industry gas stations along the way?

  4. Restrooms are not a good example. How about utilities? Do you want the electric or water company to be profit only based or overseen by the government? The answer is so easy when you use something worth measuring.

    Need more examples? Fire Dept? Telephone? Housing Inspectors? Food Inspectors?

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