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When You’ve Defined Government as the Problem… February 3, 2007

Posted by Jim Satterfield in Government, Politics.

…the most likely thing to happen is that you’ll make a bigger problem. One of the things that the title of this blog came from is my belief that so many people on the right and right of center have bought into the idea of small government is good government so much that they don’t admit to themselves much less to others that any government of a nation the size and complexity of the United States just might not be amenable to that philosophy. The New York Times has an article that points out that the overwhelming desire on the part of politicians to be able to claim that they’ve shrunk the size of government has led to an explosion of private contractors that are doing things that most definitely are appropriate functions of government, that readily lend themselves to conflict of interest and also cost the taxpayer more money than just hiring a government worker would. In addition these contractors, being private corporations do not have any of the transparency that government must have by law. The public has been aware of some of the problems that these contractors have caused and more will come out now that the committees that should have been overseeing them are not being run by conservative ideologues who basically believe that business is good and government is bad.

 Conservatives generally deride government workers as unmotivated since they can’t be fired as readily as private sector workers. What does this say about their view of the typical worker in this country? It seems to me that they are saying that no one wants to do a good job because of pride in their skills. They appear to be saying that the only thing that motivates any American worker is fear of their supervisor and fear for their job. It apparently never occurs to them that just maybe there might be people who when they go to work for the government at any level recognize their responsibilities and duties and genuinely want to do well because of that.

I don’t work for the government but I know people who do work for the government. Guess what? Not one of them fits into the conservative view of them. Any group of employees might have rotten apples, people who don’t do their jobs like they should. Anecdotal evidence to this effect about government workers is repeated ad nauseum by conservatives. Somehow they have never seen the private sector people who are no better than their horror stories of bad government workers that I’ve seen. It seems to be a perfect case of what seems to cripple this country lately, ideology uber alles.



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