Mail makes it to the homes of most Americans on time because the US postal service really is a success story. It is a government agency that makes sure that almost 60 trillion pieces of mail end up at the right address every year.
But anti-government carpers for decades have tried to sell the idea that all big government is dysfunctional. They scream about how all government workers are overpaid and underworked, underachievers. The end of their pitch usually is that the captains of private industry can always be trusted to do a better job for less money invested. Anti-government loud mouths have been recycling that theme for decades. There is a quote from an officer of the US Chamber of Commerce that is dated 1928. I found it in a book Rick Pearlstein wrote about the failures of conservative politics. "The best public servant is the worst one. A thoroughly first-rate man in public service is corrosive. He eats holes in our liberties. The better he is and the longer he stays the greater the danger."
Today, it's impossible to buy into that kind of government bashing when you look at the financial wasteland that has been created not by government bureaucrats but by all those "talented" corporate leaders who were supposed to be smarter, more creative, more disciplined and more reliable than mere mortal government employees.
The conservative's attempts to privatize schools, police departments, fire departments, mail services, and social security sound witless in retrospect.
If the GOP had succeeded in privatizing social security, the Golden Years for 51 million social security recipients would have been dismal. A privatized system would have lost two trillion dollars during the last economic meltdown.
So what does a reality check look like when we judge government professionals against the competence of private sector professionals? Today, industry has left us with a failed energy plan. America is gagging on four trillion dollars worth of toxic bank industry trash.
Today we have nothing to sell to the rest of the world because the "captains" shipped technology, and heavy industry overseas. The geniuses, who were supposed to be so much smarter than government leadership, built gas-guzzling dinosaurs with names like Hemi and Hummer while the rest of the world was building green cars. These private sector visionaries still have us breathing coal toxins that are melting our planet even though solar, wind, and geothermal energy blueprints have been in their offices for decades. This week, while taxpayers bailout the MBA smart guys who sank Chrysler and GM, it borders on ridiculous for the government bashers to suggest without giggling that government should not take control over leadership. Is it reasonable to believe that a governmental led task force could do a worse job? George Will and Charles Krauthammer need to save their ink on columns telling us that career big government professionals are failures and their friends in private industry without exception are brilliant. Americans today are pretty sure that the government's postal service will deliver their mail on time, but they have every reason to doubt whether or not Chrysler, GM, AIG and Bear Stearns will be doing business tomorrow.