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April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review July 22, 2010 / 11 Menachem-Av 5770

Outsourcing Government

By Cal Thomas




http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | In another country also called America, there were no credit cards and excessive debt was seen as a character flaw. In that America, my grandparents and their parents had discussions when they wanted to buy almost anything. The conversations focused on two questions: can we afford it and do we need it? If the answer to either question was "no," they didn't buy it.

So much of our personal and public debt in modern America comes from a refusal to ask these questions. We don't need much of what we have and we certainly can't afford it. But we buy it anyway.

The recession may be forcing us to come to our senses, however reluctantly. A Wall Street Journal headline on July 19 could be interpreted negatively, but to me it is a positive: "Cities Rent Police, Janitors to Save Cash."

The gist of the story is that increasing numbers of cities are outsourcing some of the most basic functions of local government because they can no longer afford to provide them. This has the potential of reducing costs, improving efficiency and reducing the size and reach of government. What's not to like?

Why do local governments need to pick up trash, run libraries, or even enforce laws if the private sector can do it just as well, or better, and at less cost to taxpayers? Unions are one reason and control by politicians is the other.

The senior policy adviser to the mayor of San Jose, Calif., Michelle McGurk, is quoted in the Journal story: "These are cases where the question is being asked, 'Is this a core service at the city level?' "Faced with a $118 million budget deficit," writes the Journal's Tamara Audi, the city of San Jose dropped its custodial staff and hired "outside contractors to clean its city hall and airport." Estimated savings: $4 million.


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Maywood, a tiny city southeast of Los Angeles, is dismissing its entire staff and contracting with outsiders to perform all city services, including the police. A major reason for the police layoff was a decision by the city's major insurance carrier to cancel coverage because of the high number of lawsuits against the Maywood Police Department, which amounted to $21 million in legal expenses and judgments. "Without insurance, Maywood is prohibited from hiring people who work directly for the city."

What if this practice were to catch on in other cities? It would surely boost employment in the private sector, as more businesses would take over services now performed by government. Politicians are probably not going to like this much because it will likely erode their power and perks. But taxpayers should love it because it means saving money and there will be fewer excuses for not reducing taxes.

British Prime Minister David Cameron is on a similar track, proposing "a mass transfer of power from the state to the people," as the London Telegraph characterized it. Localities would be asked to run bus services, set up broadband Internet networks and take over recycling duties, among other tasks.

A recent Washington Post series underscored the problem of government waste, especially at the federal level. In what was formerly known as "the war on terror," the story tells of a hodgepodge of many overlapping agencies and redundant work: "The top-secret world the government created in response to the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, has become so large, so unwieldy and so secretive that no one knows how much money it costs, how many people it employs, how many programs exist within it or exactly how many agencies do the same work."

Many Americans may not understand the inner workings of government, but they understand waste and duplication. Government claims it can't afford to cut anything, but it never asks us if we can afford (or want) to pay more taxes.

Republicans and conservatives might wish to campaign on a promise to streamline government by outsourcing work government has no business doing if it can be done better and less expensively in the private sector. The unions won't like it, but those of us paying the bills will. So, too, would my grandparents and their parents.


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Cal Thomas Archives

JWR contributor Cal Thomas is co-author with Bob Beckel, a liberal Democratic Party strategist, of "Common Ground: How to Stop the Partisan War That is Destroying America". Comment by clicking here.

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