New Treasury data busts the myth of government “inefficiency”

Jeremy Mohler

Jeremy Mohler Writer, Meditation Teacher

Turn on Fox News and you’ll hear about “red tape” and government “inefficiency” more times than you can count. You might hear about it on MSNBC too.

We live in the era of “small government.” (Well, except when it comes to the military, prisons, and controlling women’s bodies.) But recent numbers from the U.S. Treasury beg to differ.

In 2008, the mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac were facing collapse until taxpayers bailed them out. Ten years later, they continue to be extremely profitable for the Treasury under government control, amassing $88.3 billion so far and reducing the amount the government has to borrow each year.

Whether we should keep control of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac is up for debate. But the fact remains: they are far from inefficient. Some even believe government control is a big reason why mortgage rates remain low.

Meanwhile, private debt collectors hired by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) are collecting just a small fraction of the debt they are assigned, all the while leaving taxpayers vulnerable to scams and exploitation. New data from the Treasury’s inspector general show that the four contractors have taken in a mere $1.3 million as of May 2018, just 1 percent of the $4.1 billion they were assigned last year.

Over and over again, privatized tax collection has failed. The IRS has hired contractors three times since 1995, each time resulting in poor management and negative returns. The only thing the contractors have been efficient at is hounding delinquent taxpayers by phone, even ignoring federal law in collecting from people living in disaster zones.

The government isn’t automatically good at doing anything and everything, but neither are corporations. It’s time to bury the myth of government inefficiency. What matters more, anyway, is democracy, whether we have a say in how a public good or service that we all pay for is managed. And corporations certainly aren’t good at that.

***

Reposted from Medium

Posted In: Allied Approaches

Union Matters

He Gets the Bucks, We Get All the Deadly Bangs

Sam Pizzigati

Sam Pizzigati Editor, Too Much online magazine

National Rifle Association chief Wayne LaPierre has had better weeks. First came the horrific early August slaughters in California, Texas, and Ohio that left dozens dead, murders that elevated public pressure on the NRA’s hardline against even the mildest of moves against gun violence. Then came revelations that LaPierre — whose labors on behalf of the nonprofit NRA have made him a millionaire many times over — last year planned to have his gun lobby group bankroll a 10,000-square-foot luxury manse near Dallas for his personal use. In response, LaPierre had his flacks charge that the NRA’s former ad agency had done the scheming to buy the mansion. The ad agency called that assertion “patently false” and related that LaPierre had sought the agency’s involvement in the scheme, a request the agency rejected. The mansion scandal, notes the Washington Post, comes as the NRA is already “contending with the fallout from allegations of lavish spending by top executives.”

***

More ...

Corruption Coordinates

Corruption Coordinates