Apparently, we can save a few million bucks here and there by offering (extremely) short-term contracts to privatize a little bit of government work, which includes work performed by the Louisiana State Police.
Sen. Jack Donahue, a St. Tammany Parish Republican who chairs the streamlining commission, said he expects a large portion of the panel’s recommendations — due in a report by Dec. 15 — will involve hiring outside contractors to do work now performed by state employees.
Simple idea: Fire the state employees, with their pesky health care coverage and retirement packages, contract out their work to a private company for five years, and save a few bucks. It doesn’t matter if you strip “government” employees of their jobs, health care, and retirement, because, in exchange, you can save a little bit of money by offering the same jobs without real benefits or long-term sustainability (again, we’re talking about five year contracts) to the private sector. Despite what some may argue, “hiring outside contractors,” in this case, means firing existing employees.
No doubt, there are areas in government in need of increased efficiency, but in order to meet those challenges, it will take actual governing.
The Department of Revenue doesn’t like having to answer questions from citizens about taxes and delinquencies. They’d rather taxpayers hire a company to cover that responsibility. The State Police apparently believes they could save money by having another company conduct background checks. Seriously. Does “streamlining” simply mean temporarily allowing private companies to take over what should otherwise be bureaucratic functions? Answering the phone. Searching databases.
Maybe I’m naive, but when I first heard about Jindal’s commission on streamlining government, I thought it was going to address civil service reform, hiring and firing practices, and organizational structuring; those are the real issues we must confront in any attempt to streamline government. I didn’t expect it to advise hiring more call centers and background checkers on the public dime.
But then again, a long-term fix would take serious work, and after all, Jindal’s being advised by the staunchly pro-privatization Reason Foundation, whose spokesperson magically invents statistics to promote their agenda:
“On average you can save 10 to 25 percent through privatization. That’s significant,” said Leonard Gilroy, with the Reason Foundation, a nonprofit public policy organization working with the Jindal administration to find areas for outsourcing.
The Reason Foundation is an American nonprofit think tank founded in 1978 that also publishes Reason magazine. Based in Los Angeles, Reason is self-described as nonpartisan and publishes a statement of values that can best be described as libertarian. Like most think tanks, they are a non-profit, tax-exempt organization that provides papers and studies to support a particular set of values. According to Reason’s web site, these are “the values of individual freedom and choice, limited government, and market-friendly policies.”