Published on Monday, August 3, 2009 by CommonDreams.org
Purloining the People's Property
Every week, Marcia Carroll collects examples of privatization (that is, corporatization of the peoples’ assets). Looking at her website, privatizationwatch.org , will either make you laugh helplessly or make your blood boil.
The “off the wall” giveaways at bargain-basement prices of what you and other Americans own eclipses imagination. The latest escapes from responsible government are called “public-private partnerships” and are designed to enable the likes of Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs to take over highways, meter-collecting, and public buildings in deals that are loaded with complex tax advantages for the investors.
Here are two of her latest entries.
The proposed sale has bipartisan support and will require a leaseback by the buying corporation to the lawmakers with the right to repurchase the premises within twenty years.
“We need the money,” State Minority Whip Linda Lopez, a Tuscon Democrat said, adding, “You’ve got to find it somewhere.” Well, why not rent out the backs of the state legislators to their favorite corporate funders? At least the public would get full disclosure of ownership.
“I look at it as taking out a mortgage,” practical
The second item comes from the Denver Post, which reports that the foreign consortium, auto-estradas de Portugal (Brisa), operating the toll road
Last year, Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell tried to push through the legislature a complex, 75-year lease of the storied
Tolls on the
Last year, Mayor Richard Daley of
Indiana, a leader in outsourcing governmental functions to private corporations, gave the servicing of the state’s welfare program to IBM. According to the Indianapolis Star, error rates since corporatization have risen 17.5 percent last November and 21.4 percent in December.
The myth that corporatization is “better, faster, and cheaper” is falling apart. This year, the IRS announced that it will end the use of private tax collectors after consumer groups argued that taxpayers were subjected to immediate payment demands by private collectors while IRS employees would offer citizens an array of options to help pay their tax debt.
Then there are the corporatized water systems where the companies deliver poorer service at higher cost.
Since the 19th century, privatizing public functions has opened the doors to kickbacks, price fixing, and collusive bidding.
New depths of corruption were reached in
After reading report after report about the vast, relentless waste, fraud, and abuse arising out of corporate contractors to the Pentagon in Iraq, why should readers be surprised at this domestic scene whereby taxpayers pay through the nose for corporations to govern them?
So, you’re not surprised. But are you indignant? Are you ready to make sure the politicians hear from you in no uncertain terms, hear from you to stop this recklessness and restore public control of the public infrastructure under accountable government?
If the state politicos try to pull a fast one, demand public hearings with thorough reviews of the proposed contracts or leasebacks. Better yet, in states like
Corporatizations such as the above just pass on to our children the burdens that our generation should have assumed itself to run government within its means funded by fair taxation.
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"The master class has always declared the wars; the subject class has always fought the battles. The master class has had all to gain and nothing to lose, while the subject class has had nothing to gain and everything to lose--especially their lives." Eugene Victor Debs