The standard case for government-run industry runs like this: some goods, by their very nature, are best provided by government . . . to ensure high quality and low cost.
City sewers, firefighting, roads and education are traditionally explained as requiring government operation, organization, and tax funding.
The trouble is, it’s no longer plausible, really, to say that one of the most expensive and omnipresent of these industries, “public education” (government schooling) guarantees much of anything.
Certainly we aren’t getting quality at low cost.
But a few folks do get wealthy.
I wrote about Barbara Byrd-Bennett a few weeks ago. She’s the Chicago public school administrator who had to resign her CEO-ship because of the overwhelming evidence against her scamming Chicago’s schools . . . for over $2 million in kickbacks.
And now, it turns out, she has a prehistory — in the Motor City. “Federal investigators were looking at Barbara Byrd-Bennett’s role in a $40 million textbook contract that was awarded while she worked in Detroit,” explains the Chicago Sun-Times, “long before she became Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s schools chief. . . .”
Republican, democratic government relies upon an alert press and citizenry to catch folks like Byrd-Bennett. Why? Because government, by its nature, is most efficient in delivering wealth from many into the hands of the few. Having it serve the many is difficult, and requires eternal vigilance.
Which is one reason why we need limited government: the more extensive government’s scope, the harder to keep track of all the frauds and exploitative con jobs.
This is Common Sense. I’m Paul Jacob.