Political Revolution

Is ‘Small Government’ a Conservative Code Word for Corporate Dominance?

"Small government is conservative code talk for Corporate Dominance."
Written by JoAnn Chateau

Feeling cranky today, and then I happened on the following meme. Please excuse a small rant…

I have often pondered the big drawback of privatized services (should that ever happen to the U.S. Postal Service, Social Security, or water utilities): If citizens do not like the service, there is no way to initiate change — unless you happen to be a board member of the company that manages the service — which is unlikely! It looks like The Christian Left thought of that too.

"Small government is conservative code talk for Corporate Dominance."

Click on the image to visit The Christian Left.

The other thing about privatized services I dislike is that corporations would probably buy former government services for a song, when taxpayers have spent decades funding the research, development, and execution of such services. All the bugs have been worked out, and everything has been streamlined, rendering them extremely valuable. Why do you think a large corporation would want to buy one, in the first place? The answer is easy operation, virtually no financial risk, a cache of captive consumers on the hook, and an opportunity to downsize for big profits.

What are your thoughts? Any other drawbacks to privatization? Any pluses? And if so, how and for whom?

Be aware. Be objective.


About the author

JoAnn Chateau

JoAnn Chateau likes progressive politics and loves the canines. She sometimes writes fiction about Chester (the Alpha Bichon) and his friends -- with a dash of humor and dab of Poli-Sci. JoAnn's views and insights are tinted by her past profession in Counseling, Christian theological studies, and Library and Information Science training. Retired now, JoAnn enjoys the creative life.


  • Watched commentary on Trump speech. Astonishing MSNBC and CNN can be so contrary to FOX analysis and conclusions. Know all have particular agenda . I listened to entire speech and am dumbfounded on commentary that did not seem appropriate analysis. It’s like the parties did not listen to the same speech. Actually I should not be surprised just the unfortunate nature of “news”.

  • It is astonishing how few Americans can actually see what is going on. But that’s how propaganda works.

    The greatest priority of all voters should be to get the damned money out of politics, strictly regulate lobbying or ban it, ban all forms of corporate/private support of campaigns–which includes funding political advertising, and overturn Citizens United.

    We need public financing of campaigns, to include a limited amount of free air time on all news networks, to include debates. The Election process should be by Instant Runoff Voting (Ranked Choice).

    These are the very basic actions, as I see it, that will go a long way to create a situation where there will be no profit motive to run for elected office and as a consequence, have far more people of integrity running. Money should have NO voice.

    On the pessimistic side, however, I think it too late. Major damage is being done on many levels. Trump has put the “Unitary Executive” on steroids, as well as supply-side economics, and its aim is to complete the rise of the oligarchy. Someone needs to start their book, The Rise and Fall of the republic of the United States of America and the rise of the American oligarchy.

    Okay, rant over.

    • Dear Max, I couldn’t agree with you more, except for the part about it being too late. There are many good men and women in the Good Fight, we just don’t see them on mainstream TV. Remember Gil Scott-Heron’s song, “The revolution will not be televised.” The Progressive Movement IS building power, and Bernie is most likely running in 2020. Ralph Nader says it only takes 3% of the people to change things. Yes, we are cutting it close, time-wise; since climate change is upon us (and nuclear holocaust right behind), we need to move forward ASAP. Still, the Good Force is in play.

      I saw “The Post” yesterday (wonderful movie). In one scene a young Dan Ellsberg is told he might go to prison. Ellsberg simply replied, “I’m willing to go to prison to stop the war.” Well, all over the world, people are making sacrifices for something much bigger than themselves, to do the right thing that must be done. Whether it is a well-known whistleblower like Ellsberg, or yet another who is overlooked for job promotion because they won’t cheat to win, there is a growing army of everyday heroes who are fighting the Good Fight. You are not alone.

  • JoAnn, good post and comments. I had this conversation this morning with a Republican friend. As you know, I am an Independent, former Republican (more recently) and Democrat. The President and Congress have eliminated many regulations and not introduced others, which have eliminated some barriers to investment creating optimism. With that said, regulations are not all bad, but they are not all good either. It is a must we should review them for their efficacy and improve them when needed. The thing we must guard against is inefficient bureaucracy.

    What I told him is some of these changes will provide some tailwinds to our economy. Yet, some of the changes will cause headwinds down the road and even now, such as disabling environmental protections and allowing polluters to pollute more in streams and air. Plus, by attacking the Consumers Financial Protection Bureau, which is working quite well, the leaders are screwing American people making it harder for them to get reimbursed for fraud and aggressive marketing by banks, payday lenders, auto lenders and credit card companies.

    The other thing we must challenge ourselves to be better at is holding leaders accountable when they are untruthful and use that rhetoric to support change. The ACA is not in death spiral, but needs improvements to stabilize it. Any massive change like this needs to be tweaked. But, what my former party fails to tell people about this imperfect law is their role in making the increasing premiums even higher due to de-funding payments to insurance companies for adverse selection and defunding payments for insurers to help people making less than 2 1/2 times the poverty limit. These changes screwed Americans who are not eligible for a subsidy to win a political point. Please note as a retired actuary and former benefits consultant, these two examples are sadly true.


    • Thank you very much, Keith, for sharing your knowledgeable and balanced perspective. It is true that we must guard against inefficient bureaucracy, and there is surely a corporate counterpart to guard against also. Prof. Richard Wolff has noted that studies show there is no winner between Private vs. Government, that neither is superior to the other, there are both good and bad examples in each category. It is more important what kind of service it is. To my mind, if a customer cannot realistically do without the service (i.e., water, electricity, roads, perhaps the Internet), and when they cannot execute the consumer power of boycotting a service, then that service should not be privatized.

      Yes, we certainly need to appropriately discipline leaders who lie, cheat, and operate under boldface conflicts of interest. I would add to your examples how the current Administration has appointed directors to government departments who have little, if any, expertise in the service field they are responsible to manage — and if they could muster a philosophical opinion, it would be antithetical to the field in question. Naturally these services (EPA, Dept of Ed, etc.) are going to be mismanaged, as well as defunded. Later on, the disingenuous Republicans will be soooo concerned that such programs are inefficient and costing the taxpayers too much money — and the ONLY solution to that is privatization. But, back to your first point, if we properly guard against inefficient bureaucracy, there would be no need or justification for privatization of government directed services.

    • Oh boy. Privatization is rigged from beginning to bitter end. Let’s see if I have it straight…

      The taxpayers pay for R&D, sell the public service at a discount, so corporations can create jobs and spur the economy. Then they pay for current usage at non-competitive rates, while receiving poor customer service due to workforce reductions and lower wages…. And then finally the taxpayers buy the private service back after it fails — at whatever its peak (I assume) market value once was — in order to save vulnerable corporations so they may continue to “spur” the economy.

  • I am a republican as I have expressed here before but one that thinks the repeated mantra”less government. more freedom, lower taxes” is a rallying call to some people but does not have much substance, The problem is not big government. It that we need an effective government based on pragmatism, integrity, free of party politics and self serving entities with their legions of lobbyists. It’s a big country. It has a lot of people. There are many things a government can do and must do. A government must be responsive to needs not ideologies and perhaps appealing but vapid rhetoric.

  • What you described is the way it is in modern day capitalism. Taxpayer money funds a lot of technology through government research and development while corporate parasites reap an unequal share of the benefits from it. Also, business executives stash billions in bank accounts and businesses (often overseas) and always stick the working class with losses whether through bailouts or price increases. Every decision made by these vermin is based on how to increase profits regardless of how it affects everyone and everything else. We are simply commodities. Our jobs are just expenditures they are constantly trying to cut. We’ve been carrying corporate manipulators on our backs for far too long. The majority of the population need to wake up and help us change course.

    That’s a cool photo. It should be plastered all over the internet with concise, powerful explanations of what industry is doing to the rest of the planet. We need to make changes. Thanks for doing your part.

    • Yes. It isn’t even just the “vermin” against the people, they are against the system — and therefore, in destroying it, they ultimately destroy themselves. The “system” I mean is the natural flow that occurs in a healthy economic system or the ecosystem or the cardiovascular system. We all are needed, and we all need to be healthy to contribute our labor and love the best we can — in order to have a healthy world. I can’t explain why people go off the deep end with self-importance and power. We healthier, more objective people, need to stop the destruction.

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