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home : opinions : opinions August 20, 2014

8/6/2012 10:39:00 PM
Letter: Government can do nothing right


A few thoughts reader Tomi Richardson of Prescott Valley should consider before giving praise to the Affordable Care Act as reason to celebrate (letter on July 27).

The U.S. Postal Service was established in 1775. The government has had 237 years to get it right and it is broke.

Social Security was established in 1935. The government has had 77 years to get it right and it is broke.

Fannie Mae was established in 1938. The government has had 74 years to get it right and it is broke.

The War on Poverty started in 1964. The government has had 48 years to get it right; $1 trillion or our money is confiscated each year and transferred to "the poor" and they only want more.

Medicare and Medicaid were established in 1965. The government has had 47 years to get it right and they are broke.

Freddie Mac was established in 1970. The government has had 42 years to get it right and it is broke.

The Department of Energy was created in 1977 to lessen our dependence on foreign oil. It has ballooned to 16,000 employees with a budget of $24 billion a year and we import more oil than ever before. The government has had 35 years to get it right and it is an abysmal failure.

The government has failed in every "government service" ever shoved down our throats while overspending our tax dollars.

And you want Americans to believe the government can be trusted with a government-run health care system?

Eric Walker


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Reader Comments

Posted: Sunday, August 12, 2012
Article comment by: M D

@ Hokas. The report was based on information compiled by The Quaker group American Friends Sevice Committee, hardly a union group. I find it ironic that you cite a reference and erroneously report it's findings, then disparage it as somehow invalid. Are you suggesting that an auditing organization appointed by Gov Brewer would be less biased,? Ha! Her solution to unfavorable reports is to require less of them, that way she can avoid the embarrassment of her close ties to the private prison industry. Aside from that, given your obvious bias, you are hardly one to call someone else biased.

Posted: Saturday, August 11, 2012
Article comment by: Chairman of The Board

Good to see both deranged "James Madison's," "And so it is," Mr. Steele, and "Hokas Pokas" here. All we need is the jester Mr. Sentiss and this meeting of the Conservative Ramblers Association of Prescott (CRAP) can be called to order.

Posted: Saturday, August 11, 2012
Article comment by: Total Blarity

Look out, MD: here comes Tea-winds the Accountant, former leader of a Fortune 50 company, who will try to drive you off point with long expository monologues to prove that he has taken classes at B-school and impromptu business vocabulary quizzes to show that you haven't. In this way he establishes his dominance in hopes that he can cow you personally without having to defeat your arguments. Such are the predictable actions of bullies, and I hope you aren't fooled.

Posted: Saturday, August 11, 2012
Article comment by: Hokas Pokas

@ M D:

I am terribly sorry you are unable to comprehend a balance sheet, you choose not to try and would rather blindly follow what is clearly biased reporting. When there are items subtracted out of one side and not the other and expenses of one particular item are greater than the other (by percentage), all in the name of "adjustments," a fair minded person might question the interpretation. In addition, the entire report was done by the agency involved, as opposed to an independent auditor. This is sort of like having Bernie Madoff audit his own books. Then of course you conveniently ignore the union influences, with not only their money but also votes. And, of course, you would consider unions to be completely immune from profiting from increased sentencing or more jails.

Hardly fair and balanced reasoning on your part.

Posted: Saturday, August 11, 2012
Article comment by: Bob Lynne

I beg to differ. Social Security is working just fine and it is not broke. A little tinkering and it will be for a long time. Just raise the ceiling on the pay-in and let the wealthy pay their fair share.
Medicare is working just fine. Ask any senior. We love it. This program is efficient paying out over 95% of collections for patient care. You will be getting a refund from Medicare Advantage plans (these are run by private for profit insurance companies) because they havent even payed out 80% of their collections.
The Republicans have been underfunding many government agencies so they cannot do their job. Then they point and say, "see, they are a faillure."
Typical right-wing tactics.

Posted: Friday, August 10, 2012
Article comment by: M D

@hokas. First you bring up the false claim that medical costs aren't considered for state but are for private. Then when that is successfully challenged you switch to something else. I think I'll just stick with the findings of the investigators. Additionally, due to the heavy involvement by the prison lobby in our governors office and our legislature we now have more private prisons. Here's the thing that I find fundamentally wrong. We are introducing profit as a motive to increase prison population. It isn't much of a stretch,given the close relationship between the private prison lobby and our legislature to see more laws passed for the purpose of creating more criminals requiring longer sentences with the added bonus of providing more money going into reelection coffers. I think I have realized you are any smarter than me, just adore disingenuous.

Posted: Friday, August 10, 2012
Article comment by: roger Thompson

If the REPU"S would work as hard in Congress as they do at having 10K signs all over P.V. & prescott for re-election....this economey would be in tons better shape....talk about WASTE-FULL spending

Posted: Friday, August 10, 2012
Article comment by: Hokas Pokas

@ open book:

That's a great idea. Many European countries are privatizing their postal services.


Bain Capital has an excellent track record of turning companies around and making them profitable. For example: AMC Entertainment, Aspen Education Group, Brookstone, Burger King, Burlington Coat Factory, Clear Channel Communications, Domino's Pizza, DoubleClick, Dunkin' Donuts, D&M Holdings, Guitar Center, Hospital Corporation of America (HCA), Sealy, The Sports Authority, Staples, Toys "R" Us, Warner Music Group and The Weather Channel.

Posted: Friday, August 10, 2012
Article comment by: Hokas Pokas

@ M D:

I guess I am smarter than you. Apparently you did not notice the deductions for "Inmate administration" and "dog walking" (or whatever) that are deducted from the state run prison expenses and not from the privately run prisons. In addtion, if you look at the details of each prison, private vs. public, you will find that some of the private prisons offer drug and alcohol counseling where the public prisons do not. The report is put together by union members to promote more union jobs.

On the USPS, 75 years or 1000 thousand years, it does not matter. (The 75 year figure is phoney, any way). The fact is the retirement benefits are underfunded. There are dozens of union pension plans that are underfunded and the State of California, Illinois and others are on the verge of bankruptcy because of it. If you think that is sound business practice, fine. But that thinking is the reason why this country is almost $16T in debt.

Posted: Friday, August 10, 2012
Article comment by: open book

@ Hokas: Let's sell the USPS to Bain Capitol who can run up a bunch of debt, take all of the money, then declare bankruptcy. Then all of those workers can forget about their pensions and go on welfare and food stamps.

Posted: Friday, August 10, 2012
Article comment by: M D

@Hokas. Thank you for the reference. It is almost 2 a.m. And I was up at 4:30 this morning volunteering for the V A, so my lids are getting heavy. You are obviously much smarter than me, but I'm no dummy. I checked the ref you gave and on pages 60 and 61 of the report, the per diem for both the private and state operated prisons are given for both minimum and medium prisons. They consist of including medical and without medical for both scenarios. They show that when medical costs are included the minimum security prisons the state run average $1.39 more than private and without medical the average is 3 cents more. For the medium security costs show the opposite. Med security state run is $2.69 less than private with medical and $4.60 less if medical is not included. The most valuable comparison is without medical because health is so variable and other factors such as food costs would be more stable. It looks as if the private prisons are getting the healthier inmates. But even discounting that theory it does support the findings as reported in the newspaper that private prisons are indeed costing more than state on the average. Now a couple of dollars a day may not seem like much but when you multiply it by 365 and then again by the number of inmates , it could easily amount to millions per year. With all due respect, Hokas, I think you either misread the report or you may have tried to mislead, I hope it was the former, because clearly the comparisons show health care included and healthcare not included for both private and public prisons contrary to your claim. As far as the USPS is concerned, I am afraid you'll never convince me that funding retirement for employees that aren't even born yet is normal business practice, and I don't think I am alone in that belief. Thanks again for the references.

Posted: Friday, August 10, 2012
Article comment by: Hokas Pokas

@ M D

First, the USPS was established as a self-sustaining organization. It is required to pay for its own liabilities rather than pass them on to the taxpayer. Through the use of some imaginative accounting practices, similar to the ones used by many states that are now facing massive public employee pension plan short falls, to the tune of trillions of dollars, the USPS claims it is being "overcharged." This is simply irresponsible. The USPS is losing market share and going broke. That's it. The USPS management would take that "overpayment" and, like any good government bureaucracy, waste it.

Second, the Arizona Department of Corrections (ADC) report on State versus Private Prison Cost Comparison is available at the ADC web site. It is a matter of public record. I suggest you read it. I did.


Posted: Thursday, August 09, 2012
Article comment by: M D

Hokas. I find the point you make in regard to healthcare costs being not counted for state run facilities, but being considered for private facilities to be interesting. No amount of googling has revealed a source. Would you please provide a link? Thank you.

Posted: Thursday, August 09, 2012
Article comment by: M D

Hokas. Riddle me this. Can you explain the rationale of requiring the USPS to fund benefit programs 70 years into the future, but do it in the first 10 years? While it is true that all companies make contributions to their benefit plans, but nada, zilch, none of them come even close to having to carry that burden. If they fail because they make buggy whips, let that be the reason. But, it appears that the the republican controlled congress and white house engineered the USPS demise in order to break their employee union. No USPS, no USPS union. It is no secret that republicans consider unions to be their enemies just like they consider minority and young voters to be their enemy.

Posted: Thursday, August 09, 2012
Article comment by: Hokas Pokas

@ Attentive Listener:

Please give us an example of what was "gutted" by crony capitalism.

Posted: Thursday, August 09, 2012
Article comment by: Hokas Pokas

All companies that offer employees a defined benefit pension plan must, by law, make contributions to the plan. These plans are favored by unions because the keep the worker in the union job. The USPS is a fine institution. It is very efficiently run and very good at what it does. The CEO makes a fraction of what the CEOs of Federal Express or UPS makes. The problem with the USPS is not the funding of the union negotiated retirement plans, but the fact that it employees thousands of people making buggy whips. The USPS is offering a service that is becoming obsolete and because it is bound to this business model by federal mandate it cannot evolve and change easily with the times, as many private businesses have.

The Arizona Department of Corrections (ADC) can run the prisons cheaper than private companies because the ADC does not count the cost of inmate health care, a substantial amount of money, in its expenses. There are other items they leave out as well. The privately run prisons, of course, do. They have to.

FNMA and FHLMC supported by HUD and various politicians engaged in policies to encourage home ownership by more Americans, specifically the poor and minorities. They therefore encouraged underwriting policies that made it easier for borrowers to obtain mortgage loans. FNMA and FHLMC would buy these loans, securitize them and sell them to investors. Banks and borrowers were very willing to oblige them. No money down, no employment or income verification, poor credit scores and inflated appraisals were all acceptable in order to make mortgage loans available. Investors were more than happy to invest in these MSBs. Then the mortgage payments came due and the bubble burst.

There is currently a shortage of primary care physicians and nurses. This is predicted to get worse in the future. This is happening in Massachusetts. Obamacare will add millions more people. Look forward to long waits to see a doctor, if you can find one. Not to mention the increases in insurance costs and taxes for those that are productive.

Posted: Wednesday, August 08, 2012
Article comment by: John Rollo

The second you mentioned the Post Office I knew you didn't know what you were talking about. If you haven't kept up with the intentional mishandling by our congress upon this great organization then your another brain dead righty.

Posted: Wednesday, August 08, 2012
Article comment by: Shame on Mr. Bennett

Are there no deep thinkers anymore that can look farther then the end of their noses.

Even I know that when you make a law it cost all of us more money, and in turn people always find away around it and do what they want. So why make a law?

This is elementary!

Why don't those we elect to office understand this simple fact?

We are paying them to figure it out, but our government seams to be clueless. There was a better way, but now with the war on God underway I think we are beyond help.

Incentives always work better than a law, and incentives don't always include a cost.

We need people in office who also understand human nature. An professional Architect understands, or A professional business man who has worked with thousands of employees and people in business.

Never elect a person with a fake ID and college only experience.

Posted: Wednesday, August 08, 2012
Article comment by: Attentive Listener

Most of these are examples of very successful public enterprises that were gutted by crony capitalism, with the profitable services farmed out to private businesses and the crappy leftovers lumped on the public with ever-increasing demands and ever-decreasing budgets.

Further, the only reason the postal service appears to be broke is that congress took a multi-billion dollar surplus and demanded that they fund the 75 years worth of pension obligations up front and in cash. No other organization on the planet does this.

Posted: Wednesday, August 08, 2012
Article comment by: Maybe the Most absurd

Statement to ever grace this opinion page is one that claims an organization that has been around 237 years is a failure. What other business, private or otherwise can claim 237 years of service. Neither rain , snow , heat nor gloom of night can stop the postal service. However, the republican legislature is an obstacle they didn't plan on.

Posted: Tuesday, August 07, 2012
Article comment by: M D

The Arizona Republic just reported that utilizing private for profit prisons in Arizona cost the taxpayers $10 million more than state run (read government) prisons would have between 2008 and 2010. The report further states that running those prisons in the future will cost 38.7 million per year, roughly 6 million more than state run prisons. Now what was that about the private sector being so much better than the government? Now I don't want to complain about something without offering a solution. Why don't we go back to the good old days (you know before our republican governor and legislature sold out to the private prison industry lobbyists) when the prisons were run by the government and employed good, reliable government workers?

Posted: Tuesday, August 07, 2012
Article comment by: Bryan Boru

"The Government can do Nothing Right."

Wrong. They do a very good job of taking care of themselves. Government employees have way better pay, benefits, security and more time off than the rest of us. And incredibly better retirement that can't be stolen by a phony bankruptcy. The higher up you go, the greater the disparity.

Posted: Tuesday, August 07, 2012
Article comment by: Regan Again

The invisible hand of the market will provide! The god of supply and demand will ensure that corporations act responsibly and people will fall in line to work because if they don't, they will perish of starvation. The market will self-regulate because they have proven to us time and time again that they place public accountablility and the common good above their own self-interested profit motive. Because that's worked so many times before, let's try it again! It's really quite simple to all you uneducated, naive, and idealistic liberals out there, here's a real libertarians guide to a better america in several easy steps: get rid of the government, buy gold, buy a gun, buy a bigger gun, buy ammo, buy land, buy 7 years worth of rice and beans, get a swimming pool full of petroleum, have a lot of kids if you can manage to find an obedient and not-very-independent woman who will cater to your every beck-and-call coerce, bribe, and intimidate your fellow man into servitude to you (because you have the guns!) and let the (hunger) games begin

Posted: Tuesday, August 07, 2012
Article comment by: Peter, Yavapai County

Yes, Eric!

Let's have privately owned interstate highways with toll booths every twenty miles.

And let's have Halliburton hire and train and provide health care for our soldiers - and attack anyone they see fit.

And let's have business guys decide how safe our nuclear power plants and dams should be.

And everyone can build their own high tension power lines.

And get out of the way of our bankers and trust them to do "what's right" with our savings, since they're too big to fail, anyway.

And let's have profit driven snake oil salesmen develop sell new drugs - no expensive testing required.

And let's have everyone develop their own unique internet.

And let's have our senior citizens who cannot afford health care just cross their fingers and pray to God for continued health.

Oh yeah, let's get rid of that stupid law signed by President Reagan which requires public access to emergency rooms.

Or, are we smarter than that?

Posted: Tuesday, August 07, 2012
Article comment by: James Madison

@ Greatly exaggerated: Actually, it's "distortion" of the facts, not "extortion" of the facts.

Please refer to my test comments @ the Editorial: Dedication, work lead to success. Your inability to properly promote your position verbally leaves your ship sinking.

@ all the rest of you Progressive Organization Of Prescott (POOP) folks You're most likely done on November 6. That's when the wheels fall off your entry in the Soap Box Derby.

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