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Government services come at a high price

By Allen Lottinger -   Feb 23, 2006

The federal government’s work in restoring order after Hurricane Katrina shows that it is no match for the private enterprise system in efficiency of operation.

True, there are certain things that have to be left to the federal government. Things such as restoring order after a Katrina. But the high cost that has resulted from doing that job is a burden that the country has to suffer through.

High costs, such as providing living space on cruise ships for those who lost their homes. The government has been paying three to four times the $500 or so a week the cruise lines charge their customers for that space. And luxury service and entertainment is thrown in for passengers, something the hurricane victims do not get.

High costs such as paying contractors exorbitant amounts for services when the companies and people actually doing the work get a small fraction of that amount. Private industry would not hire a contractor under such terms.

Getting down to the point in question, it was proven long ago that a government operated economy is no competition for one that is guided by the forces of private enterprise. You get more for your money when the private sector calls the shots.

Imagine what a bar of soap would cost if the government had to produce it? Or going through the rigamaroles of getting a haircut if the government had to hire civil service workers to do it and manage the services from the higher echelons of Washington. You may have to make an appointment a week in advance for something you now can walk into a shop in St. Charles and get it done within minutes.

Communism failed many years ago in Russia which tried to convert the world to a government-run economy. And now China realizes it has to adopt free-enterprise methods to compete with the free nations of the world.

But as we wrote before, there are some things free enterprise cannot do for us. Basically, government is needed to protect the lives and rights of its citizens.

From that premise, government has evolved into other endeavors, such as providing education and health needs, assisting those incapable of assisting themselves and helping restore areas of destruction after hurricanes such as Katrina. And of course, there are many other fluctuations of those purposes that government has found to expand on its services.

But the basic fact is that government is not as efficient in providing for the needs of the people as private enterprise. We must keep that in mind in the future when we vote upon whether to let government expand its services to us.

If it does, we will be paying a high price for those services. Prices like those that have come up in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.

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