Wednesday, January 18, 2006
Baby names and politics
What's in a name? And how is that connected to politics?
My first name reached its height of popularity in 1954 and is fairly rapidly becoming obscure again. I found this information for free courtesy of our tax dollars.
You can find the popularity of birth names in a service provided by the Social Security Administration.
There is an important note at the bottom that they "do not conduct research on baby name popularity or naming trends." That was for those wondering how they answered people objecting to tax dollars spent on this.
Should the Social Security Administration provide this information or should they sell the data to someone else that could offer this service?
Let's ignore the question that it is simpler for the SSA to do this. They have the huge databases of records they need for other purposes anyway. Let us also ignore the possible identity theft and privacy abuses that would occur trying to give all the records to a private company. They could spend as much time scrubbing data as simply making it available free. Focus - Should this service and information be privatized?
Which leads me to politics and my current observation.
Privatization doesn't lead to corruption - it is corruption.
It is almost impossible to remove corruption when people make money off of services the government provides.
As you get more involved in politics you become aware that everyone contributing money to politicians wants something. Most people want something pretty specific. Most big contributors seem to be getting their money back in pretty specific ways. Even in our local little governments the big contributors are the one getting the local contracts.
Privatizing services just provides more opportunity for more money to flow back to the politicians. Any money supposedly saved comes out of wages and benefits to the workers. But for profit corporations must pay their investors and must pay taxes that public service don't. A government may save money but the more they save the more they are having a third party pay employees wages and benefits at low scales they are unwilling to directly pay.
As more governmental services are privatized more sources of political donations are created. Any politician advocating privatization wants to lower wages and benefits, to increase compensation to owners and managers, and to collect payola from the contractors.
How can a service be more efficient if it has higher costs due to the necessity of making a profit for its investors, the additional taxes it must pay? Only by cutting something out of the picture - the workers who actually do the jobs.
The New Democrats, the DFC libertarians and the DLC "free market" privatization advocates need to explain why they want lower wages and benefits for workers and more corruption in politics.
Gary Permalink on 1/18/2006
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