Pawlenty: If you can Google it, cut it.


If anybody else can fulfill the need for a profit, the government shouldn’t spend its budget to provide it for citizens for free.

I don’t agree with the premise, but I think that’s the gist.

He’s saying that any service that is offered by a private company should not be provided by the government. So because FedEx and UPS exist, we shouldn’t have a Post Office. Because there are private pharmaceutical companies, we shouldn’t have the NIH. The idea is that you can Google these services and find someone who will provide them, so the Federal government shouldn’t.

I guess he thinks we should turn the country’s defense over to mercenary groups like Blackwater/Xe or homegrown militias?

A bit of an overreach, as far as I’m concerned. Yes, I think there are some Goverment services that could be scaled back. But his plan has some major flaws.

Well, since a Google search for U.S. Government produces 318,000,000 hits, I’m forced to conclude the man is an anarchist.

Private companies have taken all the money makers out of the Post office like package delivery. I doubt anybody wants to deliver mail to every door. If they do it will cost a hell of a lot more. Setting up an operation that size would take time and an enormous amount of money.
Plawenty is talking out of his ass.

Which isn’t far off, actually. He proposed we eliminate all regulations unless Congress specifically votes to keep them. You have to have no idea how the federal government works to think that will do anything but shut down the entire government.

This. He’s clumsily trying an update of the “yellow pages rule” – the idea that if there are enough companies providing something that there’s a whole category of the yellow pages devoted to it, the government should get out of that “business.”

e.g. there’s no yellow pages for commercial firefighters, so that needs to be a governmental function. On the other hand, there is a yellow pages for waste disposal, so government should probably contract that out instead of doing it themselves. IIRC, it actually originated as an guideline for businesses looking to subcontract tasks out so they could focus on core functions.

Just substituting “Google” for “Yellow Pages,” however, makes the whole thing incoherent.

Has anyone told him that it’s more expensive to contract out privately than to have the government do it? The post office isn’t trying to make a profit.

That’s a feature, not a bug.

If contracting out cost more every time, companies would never subcontract; in point of fact, they do so every day.

You could plausibly argue that the government ought to outsource less than they do, but arguing that outsourcing never works is simple ignorance.

Outsourcing works when companies can find slave labor willing to do things cheaper. We aren’t going to outsource the post office to India and China. Generally speaking, it’s cheaper to do things when you don’t need to turn a profit. What private company is going to deliver my letter for 44 cents.

Also, how does it help the economy to throw thousands more people out of work? I can’t see any reaon the public should contract out to do something it can (and always has done) cheaply and more efficiently itself.

Wrong kind of outsourcing. Many companies find it cost effective to pay an outside company to run their cafeteria or clean their offices. There are U.S. companies that doe nothing but provide these types of services. There are pros and cons with this, and it should be considered on service by service basis, but it is not stripping people of jobs (although it may replace well paying government jobs with low paying private sector jobs).

In other words, replacing fair compensation with unfair compensation.

You are confusing outsourcing with offshoring.

When my former employers at Stellar Nordia moved the vast majoirty of their relay operator jobs to the Philippines, they were offshoring but not outsourcing; the US lost those jobs, but the people doing it still worked for Stellar Nordia.

When my former employer hired a call center whose name I can’t remember to set appointments for them, they were outsourcing but not offshoring; the jobs were in the US, but the persons holding them were not Mimeo employers. Likewise, when Sears pays local companies to do same-day deliveries in a given city rather than hire its own shipping staff, that is outsourcing.

There’s no reason a job can’t be both offshored and outsourced, of course. And it’s not necessarily unfair. It just is.

Relevant link

Sometimes, but that isn’t the only reason. Sometimes it makes sense to outsource a job function where the need fluctuates throughout the year. Sometimes management wants to focus on the thrust of the business, not on how well the floors get mopped. And it also is done to prevent a company having third class citizens. If the benefits packages are structured for engineers, and you hire janitors, either you put them in a different peon class or you overpay them.

However, a lot of times the government outsources for ideological reasons, not to save money. Look at how much we paid contractors in Iraq to electrocute our troops. Any business leader proposing such a deal would get kicked out the door, but with an administration for whom government bad, private good, it happened.

More outsourcing of government functions = more opportunities to funnel taxpayer dollars to your cronies.

Like most Libertarian ideas, it only exists to provide ideological cover for the wealthy to screw the middle class.

This seems like a no starter. Pawlenty has shown that he doesn’t really understand the system. Somehow, his “Google” idea has a "Ryan smell to it.