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Thread: Running government like a business

  1. #1
    Cyburbian Plus JNA's avatar
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    Running government like a business

    Be glad you don't work in Scranton, PA -

    City workers pay slashed to minimum wage.
    Oddball
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    Super Moderator luckless pedestrian's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by JNA View post
    Be glad you don't work in Scranton, PA -

    City workers pay slashed to minimum wage.
    what really frosts me about that is they want top level work/service and say "government should be run like a corporation" - what manager level in a corporation would accept minimum wage?

    if the position is worth minimum wage to the elected officials then ultimately they will get minimum quality and service - it's the beginning of those crazy futuristic movies

  3. #3
    Cyburbian ursus's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by luckless pedestrian View post
    what really frosts me about that is they want top level work/service and say "government should be run like a corporation" - what manager level in a corporation would accept minimum wage?
    Quote Originally posted by JNA View post
    Be glad you don't work in Scranton, PA -

    City workers pay slashed to minimum wage.
    Exactly. How thick do people have to be to understand that government can't be run like a corporation because its mandates and purposes are different than those of a corporation? Corporations aren't responsible to do anything but turn a profit and obey the law of the land. And guess what? They generally SUCK at their only two responsibilities. If they didn't suck at it our city government jobs wouldn't be in jeopardy because of weak sales taxes so much, would they? SUCK!

    I know they have lots of charitable causes and I'm generalizing so don't bother lecturing me.
    "...I would never try to tick Hink off. He kinda intimidates me. He's quite butch, you know." - Maister

  4. #4
    Cyburbia Administrator Dan's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by luckless pedestrian View post
    what really frosts me about that is they want top level work/service and say "government should be run like a corporation" - what manager level in a corporation would accept minimum wage?
    Forward to 7:44 for a counterpoint - government shouldn't be run like a business. Excellent speech by Erie County (NY) Executive Mark Poloncarz.

    Growth for growth's sake is the ideology of the cancer cell. -- Edward Abbey

  5. #5
    Super Moderator luckless pedestrian's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by ursus View post
    Exactly. How thick do people have to be to understand that government can't be run like a corporation because it's mandates and purposes are different than those of a corporation? Corporations aren't responsible to do anything but turn a profit and obey the law of the land. And guess what? They generally SUCK at their only two responsibilities. If they didn't suck at it our city government jobs wouldn't be in jeopardy because of weak sales taxes so much, would they? SUCK!

    I know they have lots of charitable causes and I'm generalizing so don't bother lecturing me.
    holy crap that was awesome

  6. #6
    Chairman of the bored Maister's avatar
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    Moderator note:
    split from RTDNTOTO

    At their very heart, the purposes and functions of government and business are inherently different.
    People will miss that it once meant something to be Southern or Midwestern. It doesn't mean much now, except for the climate. The question, “Where are you from?” doesn't lead to anything odd or interesting. They live somewhere near a Gap store, and what else do you need to know? - Garrison Keillor

  7. #7
    Cyburbian ursus's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by luckless pedestrian View post
    holy crap that was awesome
    Well, imaplanner wasn't around to say it, so I kind of had to.
    "...I would never try to tick Hink off. He kinda intimidates me. He's quite butch, you know." - Maister

  8. #8
    Cyburbian
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    I don't even think people realize what efficiency would mean in government. It'd mean a loss of convenience and services to the public.

    Now don't get me wrong, the public sector definitely has some issues but so do most private sector businesses. Having a massive bureaucracy or loads of inefficiencies isn't exclusive to just government...

  9. #9
    Cyburbian beach_bum's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Maister View post
    Moderator note:
    split from RTDNTOTO

    At their very heart, the purposes and functions of government and business are inherently different.
    Exactly, the government is responsible for health, safety and welfare...business is responsible for making a profit, huge difference. My personal philasophy on laws is they are created for the lowest common denominator, meaning if government didn't make something a law no one would do it. A good example is minumim wage, government sets that because if they didn't we would have some employers paying a wage that folks couldn't live on for some jobs. Not all employers would try this, but this law protects those wage earners that work for an employer that might try if there was no law.

    Since government impacts our daily lives, I want the best government (including people running the government) my tax dollars can buy, not a barebones operation that scrapes by.
    "Never invest in any idea you can't illustrate with a crayon." ~Peter Lynch

  10. #10
    Gunfighter Mastiff's avatar
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    I say we drop Congressional salaries to minimum wage and no benefits.

    Oh, and taking gifts of any kind is considered bribery, punishable by an extended prison sentence. I wonder how that would work out?
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  11. #11
    Cyburbian
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    Quote Originally posted by Mastiff View post
    I say we drop Congressional salaries to minimum wage and no benefits.
    I honestly think this would make matters worse. It'd further ensure that only the wealthy can serve in Congress. A 100k+ salary isn't unreasonable for a Congressmen considering they have to maintain two residents and are away from their families a lot. Now their pensions are a completely different matter.

    I agree that someone needs to do a better job of policing Congress. It's ridiculous that they essentially self-police and are allowed to take full advantage of their office.

  12. #12
    Cyburbian jsk1983's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Blide View post
    I honestly think this would make matters worse. It'd further ensure that only the wealthy can serve in Congress. A 100k+ salary isn't unreasonable for a Congressmen considering they have to maintain two residents and are away from their families a lot. Now their pensions are a completely different matter.

    I agree that someone needs to do a better job of policing Congress. It's ridiculous that they essentially self-police and are allowed to take full advantage of their office.
    Agree. Of course many Congress people are already wealthy...

  13. #13
    Since my degree is in public admin, not planning, you cannot run government like a business. However, the same rules apply regarding EEOC, sexual harassment, drug and alchol, etc. As mentioned before, government is not supposed to turn a profit. Further, government can't simply raise it proices to cover declining profits. The only way government can raise it revenue is via taxes (good luck with that) or user fees.
    When did I go from Luke Skywalker to Obi-Wan Kenobi?

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    Super Moderator kjel's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Blide View post
    I honestly think this would make matters worse. It'd further ensure that only the wealthy can serve in Congress. A 100k+ salary isn't unreasonable for a Congressmen considering they have to maintain two residents and are away from their families a lot. Now their pensions are a completely different matter.

    I agree that someone needs to do a better job of policing Congress. It's ridiculous that they essentially self-police and are allowed to take full advantage of their office.
    See how your congressional reps stack up. http://www.opensecrets.org/pfds/over...pe=W&year=2010

    *************
    That said, government should not be run like a business. That is not to say that they must be devoid of efficiency and effectiveness, but government exists for entirely different purposes.
    "He defended the cause of the poor and needy, and so all went well. Is that not what it means to know me?" Jeremiah 22:16

  15. #15
    Cyburbian wahday's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by ursus View post
    Exactly. How thick do people have to be to understand that government can't be run like a corporation because its mandates and purposes are different than those of a corporation? Corporations aren't responsible to do anything but turn a profit and obey the law of the land. And guess what? They generally SUCK at their only two responsibilities. If they didn't suck at it our city government jobs wouldn't be in jeopardy because of weak sales taxes so much, would they? SUCK!

    I know they have lots of charitable causes and I'm generalizing so don't bother lecturing me.
    But lecturing is so much fun!

    Agree, agree, agree. Your candor is spot on. I also just want to encourage you to use SUCK more often. Its very effective at communicating your feelings and, frankly, I find it very amusing. Choking on my coffee now…
    The purpose of life is a life of purpose

  16. #16
    Cyburbian WSU MUP Student's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by kjel View post
    See how your congressional reps stack up. http://www.opensecrets.org/pfds/over...pe=W&year=2010
    One of my senators is ranked as the 101st wealthiest with a "maximum net worth" of -$15,001... how is that even possible for a senator? My congressman is right in the middle of the pack with a maximum net worth of about $2.5 million, which really isn't that much considering some of the neighborhoods his district covers.
    "Where free unions and collective bargaining are forbidden, freedom is lost." - 1980 Republican presidential candidate Ronald Reagan

  17. #17
    Cyburbian Tide's avatar
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    I believe the term "government needs to be run like a business" has been born out of the fact that too many government department, both local and federal, have engaged in those activities that should be handled by the private sector. Nearly everything a government does can, at its core, be provided by the private sector and at a profit, however things like mass transit, toll roads, even firefighting/EMS/and Police can be more efficient if provided by private sector (and run like a business). Now, before you harp on me and say Tide thinks all public services should be outsourced, I'm not saying that, but there are lessons to be learned. In addition, governments also get into other deals that aren't inherently part of the government role, many transportation/economic development projects are not really in line with the public health, safety, and welfare (see: stadiums) - if a government views public health, safety, welfare and yes general morals as part of their mission and vision then that should keep them running in the right direction.

    As a former public employee, "Running government like a business" to me means maximizing efficiency, not taking advantage of public loopholes for pension programs, having meaningful reviews and merit systems instead of guaranteed or contractual raises (and tenure), and putting the customer first.
    @GigCityPlanner

  18. #18
    Cyburbian WSU MUP Student's avatar
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    Efficiency is all well and good, but when talking about government services, efficiency shouldn't generally be valued above equity.
    "Where free unions and collective bargaining are forbidden, freedom is lost." - 1980 Republican presidential candidate Ronald Reagan

  19. #19
    OH....IO Hink's avatar
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    Our governor is running Ohio like a business and now has a surplus. What isn't mentioned is the fact that he has cut services, hurt local communities, and underfunded loads of other programs to achieve this goal.

    The goal shouldn't be surplus or constant cost savings measures. It should be based on services needed and the quality of the people that do those services. Business thrive on killing competition and eating smaller businesses. In my state, our governor "succeeded" in making government more efficient by making local government less efficient and forced to provide less services.
    A common mistake people make when trying to design something completely foolproof is to underestimate the ingenuity of complete fools. -Douglas Adams

  20. #20
    Cyburbian
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    The ultimate irony of government services is no one cares about them until they need to use them. Then they'll complain that the service is poor because that department is perpetually understaffed and overworked due to lack of funding.

  21. #21
    Cyburbian ursus's avatar
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    Suggested activities for people who think that government offices are bloated with inefficient workers who don't want to help you, unlike the private sector:

    1) Try to cancel your old subscription to AOL.

    2) Try to get off of a mailing / email list for any department store or clothier.

    3) Ask the sales clerk at your local Toys R Us a question about something. This isn't a trick question. Ask them anything.

    4) Make a last minute change to your rental car arrangements.

    5) Ask your bank to justify the dollar figure attached to overdraft fees. Don't cheat on this one. Public sector people have to justify fees every damn day.

    6) Ask your bank to cash a hand-written check from somebody and watch the 19 year old part time cocktail waitress doubling as your teller act like you just handed her something you pulled out of the Ark of the Covenant.

    7) Call your health insurance provider and ask them to "explain" the "explanation of benefits" they mailed you after your doctor's visit. I dare you not to scream.

    8) Tell a private security guard that someone just threatened your family in the food court. Bet you that goes down really well. Good luck scolding the Crips into submission, Officer Blart.


    I'm just amusing myself. I think Tide's points are well taken. As with everything, it's a matter of how far we go.
    "...I would never try to tick Hink off. He kinda intimidates me. He's quite butch, you know." - Maister

  22. #22
    Cyburbian dw914er's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by JNA View post
    Be glad you don't work in Scranton, PA -

    City workers pay slashed to minimum wage.
    This just in: "Scranton staff replaced with interns"


    And that concludes staff’s presentation...

  23. #23
    Super Moderator luckless pedestrian's avatar
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    to add to ursus' list (who, btw, is on a roll):

    9) try to get a human on the phone when calling your phone/cable/internet company

    10) try to switch providers of the same

    11) try to pay cash for heating oil deliveries

  24. #24
    Chairman of the bored Maister's avatar
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    efficient, responsive, and/or helpful?

    12) two words: "tech" and "support"
    People will miss that it once meant something to be Southern or Midwestern. It doesn't mean much now, except for the climate. The question, “Where are you from?” doesn't lead to anything odd or interesting. They live somewhere near a Gap store, and what else do you need to know? - Garrison Keillor

  25. #25
    Quote Originally posted by WSU MUP Student View post
    Efficiency is all well and good, but when talking about government services, efficiency shouldn't generally be valued above equity.
    Bingo-private sector only cares about equity when they are forced to. In government, we get hammered if we don't. We are here to serve all the people.
    When did I go from Luke Skywalker to Obi-Wan Kenobi?

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