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Monday, June 13, 2011

Practical Government

The more I think about a short description for my political positions, the more I come back to this idea: practical.  Especially in the issue of public v. private.

For some folks, it's a matter of principle that the government should do least, letting the private or charitable sectors handle the rest.  But what happens when the private sector (contrary to our conventional wisdom) is not the most cost-effective (let alone effective)?

Take health care. We know that we can do health care more cheaply with a public system (Medicare) than with a private one (Medicare Advantage, etc.). So rather than waste economic resources on private health care, let's create a public health care system and re-dedicate our savings to a more useful economic pursuit.

There are some other great examples.  Publicly-provided education loans leave fewer students in default of their debts (and more able to take risks, be entrepreneurial, and buy things), as well as costing taxpayers less money.

Community-owned broadband networks deliver superior services at costs below what the private sector does, and the high quality and low cost create massive economic multipliers as the private sector takes advantage of the better public infrastructure.

Government is often better than the private sector, especially for essential services and the basic infrastructure of a market economy.  It's time we made better choices about when to use it.

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