Saturday, May 9, 2009


Government has failed and I know why. The public sector is no longer devoted to its core functions. It has become process oriented. What this means is that the end result is not the objective. It is the process that is the objective to justify the cost of not getting failure.

First, let’s look at what government, at all levels, is supposed to do. It is supposed to govern. By that I mean that its core purpose is to tell us what and what not to do. That means that government’s purpose is to regulate the activities of its citizens. An over simplification yes, but I am have a simple mind. Those who complain because government regulates their lives are missing the point. Why else have government? Well, there is more to it than that.

Government also provides services the public cannot or will not provide for itself. We are talking about meeting the needs of the public for the greater good of all. There are those who believe they need no service from government therefore do not want service provided to others.

In order to regulate and provide service, we set up an institutional organization called government in a format that will allow these services and regulation to happen… but at a cost. (Taxes and fees for service) There is no free lunch so we have to hire people or private businesses to do the work of government. These employees and/or businesses demand payment. Here is where things start to unravel.

Government is all about providing service and regulating, nothing more nothing less. In doing so, government takes in a lot of money in taxes to pay the employees and vendors that feed off the public’s needs or desire for this service and regulation. Since anarchy would prevail if there were no organization to this scenario, government employs supervisors and managers to plan, organize and control the activities of the employees and vendors. Here is where things continue to unravel.

The private sector is very different from government. Business is all about making money, nothing more nothing less. So long as the business owners are making money, the employees and vendors to business are allowed to operate at will more or less. A business is considered a success so long as it makes money. It is a failure when it does not make money, no matter how well it is managed.

I must admit that large corporations seem to use the model described below as they fail in modern times just like government.

Government operation is viewed differently, and I first encountered the difference in the middle 1970’s when I left the private sector to enter the public sector fire service. The economy had all kinds of problems and sources of taxation were issues all over. Nothing like today’s problems but problems nonetheless. It was at that time I experienced the word “accountability” as it would come to apply to government.

We were told that government and public employees would have to become accountable. Government had a financing problem, and we were to be held accountable. In the business world things were different, when things did not go well and business was not making money we (at all levels) did what was necessary to make money or were fired. In the public sector, we were to be held accountable. Whatever the f**k that meant.

Accountability implies blaming someone which assumes failure. Therefore, if government employees must be held accountable for their actions at all times, they are considered perpetual failures.

A management guru type somewhere developed the idea that government should be run like a business to be successful. Nothing could be further from the truth. Government does not produce products that can be sold at a profit. It provides regulation and services that usually cannot be provided acceptably at a profit. There is no profit, just a cost. Some services can be provided better or hopefully cheaper by private enterprise, but government’s purpose is not to provide anything at a profit. That is why emulating the private sector management model is a guaranteed failure.

Since the hoped for profit result is impossible, government has adopted the appearance of emulating private business. Government has become totally process oriented, not service oriented. Management must decide what the private sector would do in each situation and try to look like they are doing it that way. In other words, just look like you are doing a good job and that is all it takes to gain tax payer approval. Adopt the terms of business; fret over efficiency and economical operation; seek out former business managers to bring their expertise to government, and all will become miraculously better. The public will be satisfied; right wing anti-government mavens will disappear, and budget will woes will dematerialize. It has not worked that way.

Anti-government forces will always try to destroy government by condemning its actions as over-reaching, wasteful, inefficient and too costly. When will we learn that nothing will placate the right-wing conservatives who want to live free of rules or die? They want to replace government with anarchy ruled by the wealthy.

After reading this a couple of times, I decided it does not make sense, but I am publishing it anyway because it does not make sense.


No comments: