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.

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Reposted from Medium

Posted In: Allied Approaches

Union Matters

Members of Local 7798 achieve major goal with workplace violence policy

From the USW

Workers at Copper Country Mental Health Services in Houghton, Mich., obtained wage increases and pension improvements in their contract ratified earlier this year, but the benefit Local 7798 members were most proud of bargaining was language regarding workplace violence.

The contract committed the employer to appoint a committee, including two members of the local, to draft a workplace violence policy. Work quickly began on the policy, and just last week, the committee drafted and released its first clinical guideline focusing on responding to consumer aggression toward staff.

“We are so excited to have this go into effect,” said Unit Chair Rachelle Rodriguez of Local 7798. “This was a direct result of our last negotiating session.”

The guideline includes the definition of aggression and an outline of procedures, all of which will be reviewed yearly. And though this is just a first step in reducing the incident rates and harm of workplace violence in their workplace, it still is a big one for the local, and it wouldn’t have been possible without a collective bargaining agreement.

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There is Dignity in All Work

There is Dignity in All Work