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Privatization of Public Assets

In an attempt to stem some of the hemorrhaging from city and state budget deficits, there is an increasing wave of interest in privatizing government owned assets.  The most well known of these was the privatization of Chicago public parking meters.  If you know someone in Chicago, just ask them how much they like the new private parking situation…or you can read about the debacle here.

Now others are jumping on board.  Bloomberg in New York is mulling a plan to privatize its own parking meters and Chris Christie from New Jersey is looking at privatizing health care for prison inmates, state parks, highway rest stops and career centers for the unemployed and the toll collections.

The reasoning behind privatization is mostly sound – lease or sell public items to private organizations so that the private organizations can run them more efficiently than the government.  The problem is that nothing involving lobbying, politics, and potential monopolies is ever sound…  It is unlikely that the assets will be sold or leased at appropriate market values.

Just read through this quick info-graphic regarding Wisconsin and you will see where the faults emerge:

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