Friday, September 23, 2011

Why I Am Not Quite As Gung-Ho On Government Contracted Services As I Used To Be

This September 23, 2011 Wall Street Journal article is about a case involving state court judges who sentenced juveniles to a for-profit juvenile prison because he was getting kickbacks from the Mafioso who made a profit on it.  It was a corruption problem pervasive in county government in that part of Pennsylvania:
In sentencing Mr. Conahan, Judge Kosik spoke of the deep-rooted political culture that produced him, one in which corruption is tacitly accepted. The federal government's four-year investigation of public corruption in Luzerne and Lackawanna counties has snared more than 30 people, including state lawmakers, county officials, school-board members and others.
Government contracted services can be a cost-effective strategy--but there needs to be a lot more attention paid to the problem of corruption because of the profit motives for the contractors.  Government employees have their own incentives to featherbed, but those are typically relatively small potatoes compared to something like this.

1 comment:

  1. Sometimes people forget that the different between government and private sector is not that private sector has smarter people or is somehow inherently better, but that private companies can eventually run out of money while taxpayer funded agencies can always ask for more tax(or borrowed) money. Once you hook private contractors permanently to the government teat the behave much like government agencies.