Sunday, August 15, 2010

Private Sector is not Paradise

Ziggy, August 15, 2010


As writer Tom Keane admits in his column in today's Boston Globe, he is generally not averse to government-bashing. In "The (too) easy road of tax cuts," he argues persuasively, however, that anti-tax activists in Massachusetts are going too far. Aside from  fringe libertarians such as Carla Howell, few such activists are willing to enumerate the programs they would willingly cut in order to achieve the dramatic and admittedly attractive savings they advocate.

Rather than specifying cuts, most of those pushing to slash taxes claim that the elimination of waste, fraud, and abuse would be sufficient to have the tax cuts without any pain. More main-stream republican governors have made such claims in the past, but rather than identify the painless savings, they have savaged state services. It is taken as an article of faith on the right that government is riddled with waste, while the private sector is always more efficient. Ironically, such arguments have led to the shoveling of billions of public dollars into fraudulent and mis-managed private firms (such as Halliburton), but the myth continues to be believed.

However much waste, fraud, and abuse exists in Massachusetts government -- and surely there is some -- the anti-tax crusaders do not quantify it, nor do they have a plan for eliminating it. The elderly, police and fire departments, schools, the poor, and college students will take up the slack if this autumn's tax-repeal campaigns succeed.

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