Marching Toward Privatization

Republicans and business leaders have been pushing privatization (and deregulation) for decades. Now, the results of this effort are becoming clear.

Even as the Bush administration announces plans to privatize nearly a million federal jobs, reports of the costs and failures of such privatization roll in. Mother Jones reports this month on the growth in privatization of municipal water systems. The result in cities like Atlanta has been water boiling alerts do to dangerous bacteria levels, and poor service do to a workforce slashed by cost cutting.

Stories on NPR programs [url=http://discover.npr.org/rundowns/segment.jhtml?wfId=845683]Sunday[/url] and [url=http://discover.npr.org/rundowns/segment.jhtml?wfId=846799]Monday[/url] include reports on the plan as well as a review on how privatization has [url=http://discover.npr.org/rundowns/segment.jhtml?wfId=846801]already effected[/url] the military. Some [url=http://www.commondreams.org/views02/1116-04.htm]observers[/url] have noted the timing of the announcement, just after the election, seems politically motivated. How might news of 850 thousand federal jobs on the chopping block changed political debates earlier this Fall?

Plans include privatizing much of the [url=http://www.ttd.org/Resolutions/feb2002/no.4.htm]transportation infrastructure[/url], like air traffic controllers. This appears in stark contrast to recent action by Congress to federalize airport baggage checking as the only means to ensure passenger safety.

Meanwhile, increasing privatization of all levels of health care has lead to higher costs, decreased service capacity, and poorer quality. The [i]Boston Globe[/i] has reported often on these matters, including a [url=http://www.boston.com/globe/specialreports/1997/may/spotlight/gov.htm]1997 report[/url]. And always liberal [i][url=http://zena.secureforum.com/Znet/zmag/articles/sept96kohn.htm]Z Magazine[/url][/i] reports on the effect of privatization on the work environment at hospitals.