16 June 2007

Government failure imposes large costs

Newt Gingrich in some recent spoken comments contributes the title of this post, and:

How many of you have ever gone online to check the location of a package at UPS or FedEx? In a room this sophisticated, it’s virtually universal. ... The market has led to the capital investment and the information technology and a corporate culture which is that productive. It can track millions of packages simultaneously in virtually real time. This is a fact. You experience it in your own life. Over here is, for example, the federal government, which cannot find between 11 and 13 million undocumented workers. Look at these two information systems. I’ve argued as a public policy matter... that if we simply allocated $200 million to send a package to each person who’s here illegally, that within 48 to 72 hours UPS and FedEx would have foundthem, we’d know where they are. It is so grotesque, it’s funny, right? And yet in this city and frankly in most of the public administration and public policy and government courses in the country, you cannot get them out of the world that failed.
He and Noam Chomsky should get together - see my previous post. Government is so big and remote that it doesn't do things the voters want it to do; it does do things the voters don't want it to do; and when it does do things that voters want, it does them so badly as to be worse than ineffectual. A final quote:

[I]f you do want to have a system that has, for example, less carbon-loading of the atmosphere, I will guarantee you that an incentive-based and prize-based marketplace is going to get to solutions radically faster than a litigation and regulation-based model.

I agree.

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