Advocates of big government rarely let facts get in the way of their pursuit of growing budgets. Such is the case with Waco Tribune-Herald editor John Young, whose weekly column is very often devoted to the worship of government (of the activist variety) and the damnation of conservative, free market principles.

As he has done occasionally, Mr. Young recently ranted against privatization. What’s ironic is that Mr. Young would damn the concept for the very visibility that lets him rant!

Companies taking advantage of taxpayers can be fired for their malfeasance (real or perceived); when was the last time a state agency was fired for fraud, waste or abuse? But, of course, Mr. Young doesn’t let facts get in the way when he refers to the Children’s Health Insurance Program and the contract with corporate giant Accenture. That contract was ended by both parties when they couldn’t reach agreement on moving forward. The state paid them for the actual work that had been down, and both sides walked away. (The same cannot be said of government employees who don’t perform; the various unions and “associations” makes it all but impossible to rid the taxpayers of them. And when agencies don’t perform… Well, the most prevelant solution is for the Legislature to rename them and call it a day.)

You can find report after report from inspectors general near and far detailing the waste and fraud perpetrated by government officials and employees, with very few consequences. Remember the “bridges-to-nowhere,” 6-figure hammers and million-dollar toilets?

Just as it would be illogical to suppose that all government functionaries are sexual predators based on the systemic malfeasance of the Texas Youth Commission, Mr. Young’s ideological opposition to the free market makes his case similarly unreasonable.

On one point, Mr. Young is right to call foul on “cost-plus” bidding, which has allowed mind-numbing cost escalation. But that is a contracting process problem, not a privatization problem. Instead, taxpayers should have the security of knowing that the lowest responsible bidder gets the job. If they fail to perform (that is, do the job correctly and on time), they should be fired.

Such is the value of the marketplace. But, sadly, it’s a value liberals fail to recognize.

Michael Quinn Sullivan

Michael Quinn Sullivan is the publisher of Texas Scorecard. He is a native Texan, a graduate of Texas A&M, and an Eagle Scout. Previously, he has worked as a newspaper reporter, magazine contributor, Capitol Hill staffer, and think tank vice president. Michael and his wife have three adult children, a son-in-law, and a dog. Michael is the author of three books, including "Reflections on Life and Liberty."


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