YOU will often hear this said when a newcomer is elected to public office – a new governor, a new legislator, a new commissioner, whatever. The newly elected official will tell his constituents: “I want to run government like we run a business.”
That statement is usually followed by a decision to outsource or privatize something that local government had been doing so that the service is now provided by a private business.
The theory is that a private business will perform a function or deliver a service more efficiently than a government agency can, so the taxpayers will always save money.
It’s a nice theory, but in real life it often does not work out that way. The cost of providing a government service can dramatically increase when a private business takes over.