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If the advocates for government efficiency were right, then the Soviet Union—where thousands of unneeded tractors rusted in vacant lots as the public waited in line for toilet paper—would have been the most successful economy on the globe. We would all be happily driving Trabants rather than Toyotas, Fords, and Volkswagens.
Private industry creates wealth whereas government efforts consume it. If my neighbor starts a business, he must win over customers without coercion. He can’t force them to patronize their businesses or to pay his expenses. Even when government operates as a business, it forces the rest of us to subsidize its operations. Private industry must please the demands of consumers or it loses money. Governments' only customers are politicians and the unions that represent its workers. It's no wonder it provides lousy customer service and shoddy products.
There are no shareholders to please, few incentives to rein in costs, no days of reckoning when it fails.
There are two ways to provide services—through the free market, which energizes private initiative as people freely pursue their own dreams, or through the political world, where government officials take money by force (taxes) and protect government providers from competition. There’s a reason the teachers unions, for instance, fight vociferously against charter schools, vouchers, and other competitive systems that would embarrass them.
If we want a humane and efficient and accountable society, then we need less government, not more of it. Advocates for freedom need to quickly figure out how to better impart these lessons in a society that is bounding toward limitless government.