Sunday, January 3, 2010

The Business of Governmnent.

Politico has an interesting article about the American public's thoughts on what to do with the portfolio of assets currently controlled by the US Government and how to use these assets to address America's considerable debt.

There is an interesting contrast embedded in the article regarding perceptions on the government's ownership of feasible business enterprises versus the ownership of land. According to the Rasmussen polling data used for the article,"57 percent think the government should sell Amtrak to private investors as soon as possible,"while "Seventy-six percent say the government should sell its ownership of the auto companies to private investors as soon as possible," however, "Fifty percent are against any government land sale" to pay-off the debt. What gives?

It's no secret that the government can't run or value a business.

However, what drives this perception that the government is an intrinsically superior steward of the land? Or perhaps, is it that land isn't a suitable asset to sell to pay off the debt? Do we cling to some romantic notion of Teddy Roosevelt birthing the national parks in all their glory and those would be the parcels of land up for grabs? For every national park, there are thousands of acres of nothingness or defunct military bases that may have higher values elsewhere than just sitting idle.

As an advocate of smaller government across the board, the werewolf views most, but not all, federal/state assets as worthy of consideration for sale to pursue both a reduction of debt and better internal management practices. I am thrilled that the public tends to be skeptical of government run businesses, but, still wonder where the line of demarcation exists between business and land.

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