Is the private sector more efficient than government? Do they do better work? Here is a letter to the editor in the San Jose News this morning:
Private contractors’ work often shoddy
careful what you wish for. As a municipal employee, I spent 20 years
redoing and fixing work done by private contractors. They cut corners
everywhere the contract allows. When inspectors aren’t looking, they do
whatever they think they can get away with. The end result is frequent
and early failures that cost more to fix than it would have cost to do
it correctly with quality parts when it was built. The municipal
employee has to live with the work he does, so he tries to make it
maintainable and reliable.
When you lay off government employees and contract out you are dealing with companies that wants to make a profit. This can lead to cutting corners, cutting quality, cutting worker pay and benefits, trying to get around environmental rules, etc. So privatizing can cut both ways. Maybe you can save some money, maybe not. But this idea that the private sector always does things better than We, the People just ain’t necessarily so.
I worked for CalTrans for 35 years. Nothing would make me angrier than finding work poorly done by private contractors who I, had I been allowed to bid, could have done cheaper, better, and quicker. It didn’t matter how well the contract paid the emphasis was always to take home as much money as possible. They didn’t have to live with the consequences, we did!