The End Of Democracy Brought to You by Thatcher, Reagan and Trump

The corruption of small D democracy, the corruption of human rights, the corruption of civil rights, the destruction, actually, of civil and human rights, the destruction of the public sphere, the the deconstruction of government - or as Steve Bannon famously said, the deconstruction of the administrative state, in other words taking apart government.

Trump came into office promising to destroy the United States government, or at least, Steve Bannon was essentially saying that we're going to deconstruct the administrative state. And Trump is doing it. Look at all of the people who haven't been appointed to jobs, and the people who have been appointed to jobs who are aggressively doing things like taking apart the EPA, taking apart the CDC. The woman who was running the CDC was investing in tobacco stocks at the same time she was supposed to run the campaign to stop smoking. Maybe she decided to dial back the campaign and buy tobacco stocks. So there's that.

But the bigger issue is the one of privatization. And this is this is something that really started picking up steam under Ronald Reagan. Reagan fully embraced the idea that any job being done by a government bureaucrat could be done better by a corporate bureaucrat, so let's just replace all the government bureaucrats with corporate bureaucrats, right? And Reagan wasn't the first. Margaret Thatcher started this in 1978 in Great Britain and started outsourcing things, started privatizing industries that were owned by the government - the rails for example.

Kimiko de Freytas-Tamura wrote in The New York Times recently the headline "Britain Was a Pioneer in Outsourcing Services. Now, the Model Is 'Broken'." And she starts out telling this story of the Millbrow Care Home. It had been privatized years ago and it's run by the second largest company that runs these these giant nursing homes in England or in Britain. And she tells the story:

"The residents of the Millbrow Care Home were already frail with old age and illness when they started losing weight at alarming speed.

The reason: They were being neglected, an investigation revealed. For over a year, they had been deprived of food and drink for hours on end. They were not being given the medication they had been prescribed. There were outbreaks of vomiting and diarrhea, and outdated food in the kitchen. No one was in charge of preventing the spread of infections, and managers rarely made an appearance."

The company that owns Millbrow is Four Seasons Health Care, Britain's second largest provider and they're owned by Terra Firma, which is like one of Mitt Romney's companies - it's a private equity group. So they're not interested in caring for old people, they're interested in making a profit.

Now, the story that Thatcher and Reagan told us that they got from Milton Friedman in the Chicago School back in the 50s and 60s was that because the marketplace is driven by greed and profit it is always going to seek to maximize profits, which means reducing prices and costs to the bare minimum. So, if you're aggressively reducing prices and costs to the bare minimum, then in theory you should be able to offer services cheaper than a government agency that is not quite so fanatically interested in reducing costs, but is more committed to providing high quality services.

That was the theory, that private enterprise, because of the profit motive, would do it better.

Now, if the rest of us - and by the rest of us I mean most rational economists like Paul Krugman and Richard Wolff, were standing around saying, "wait a minute, you're going to take a for-profit entity that wants to make ten or twenty percent off this, plus has to pay the salaries of its CEOs and its marketing people, and it has to produce a dividend to give to its stockholders, etcetera, etcetera, that they're going to be able to provide the services cheaper with all this overhead associated with being a for-profit company?

Medicare has run for years and years and years on less than 3% of total cost. There's not a for-profit health insurance company in the United States right now that is even capable of running on less than 20% of cost, because they've got to pay the CEOs their multi-million dollar salaries, they've got to pay all the executives. United Health Care has over 100 who make over a million dollars a year, if reports are true.

So now we get to the bottom line here. This from the New York Times story:

"A report by the government's National Audit Office shows that taxpayers are expected to pay nearly $285 billion to private contractors for projects and services over the next 25 years. The agency also found that with changing economics, schools could cost 40 percent more, and hospitals 70 percent more, when undertaken through private-finance initiatives rather than though the government."

You get that? The British government coming right out and saying here's our official assessment, if you are going to run a hospital for profit, it's going to cost you 70 percent more than if the government runs it. And you're probably going to get worse service, given what happened in the UK.

And if you're going to run a school for profit, it's going to cost forty percent more.

Somebody needs to wake up Betsy DeVos.


Dianereynolds's picture
Dianereynolds 6 years 19 weeks ago

I would be willing to join in with you under four simple conditions.

1. Workers make exactly the same salary as those in the private sector and I will be willing to lower the pay of top management if you so wish.

2. Workers get exactly the same retirement benefits as their counterparts in the private sector.

3. Workers can be terminated under exactly the same rules as those in the private sector.

4. No unions allowed in the government sector (which prevents strikes), but the government must pay the same wages as those in the unionized private sector.

Do we have a deal?

2950-10K's picture
2950-10K 6 years 19 weeks ago

As usual Reynolds has it back-ass-wards. ...typical of foxmerized Kochbaggers. She's arguing in favor of a race to the bottom. Instead... how about workers in the private sector get the same union benefits and protections most government employees get? Lets lift all boats, instead of being jealous and childish of what others have fought for and gained.

Oh I forgot, you foxmerized citizens fight for underpriviledged billioniares, but of course they need to keep wages low and benefits down, or else the stock market will crash. That's the message yesterday...higher wages mean inflation and that means higher interest rates which translates to a stock market crash...LMAO! Give me a break. I smell more trickle down lies.

2950-10K's picture
2950-10K 6 years 19 weeks ago

So it's only inflation when you pay hard working citzens more. Giving 90% of all wage growth to the top 1 % since 2008 didn't count as inflation? That was OK..really! That's what a unionless economy gets you Reynolds.

Obviously we can't afford unregulated capitalism anymore. We need to totally unionize and make the following sectors not for profit.... Education, Energy, and Healthcare.

The Kochpublicans are against medicare for all, and the Democratic Party is for it..that's all that needs to be repeated over and over until Nov.

Legend 6 years 19 weeks ago

From my own personal experience. I worked for several major American Companies. I also consulted at several companies in the USA and international. Of all the companies in the USA I would only consider 1 as reasonably well run. I found several overseas that I considered well run. This is my personal opinion. Two that I worked for went through bankruptcy. I went through several buyouts that were due to poor operation. Subbing it out to contractors is not necessarily a good thing. Look at any DOE subcontracts.

2950-10K's picture
2950-10K 6 years 19 weeks ago

BTW: Unrelated, and this from a Berniecrat...I'm sick and tired of the Hillary Clinton bashing with zero to back up any of the allegations. She has to be the most negatively propagandized politician in history. Minus the election fraud, and corp media propaganda, she clearly won the election hands down. She was the original advocate for single-payer decades ago....which got the Fascist profiteers stirred up and on a relentless attack. She was right, they are wrong....medicare for all is the only solution.

Outback 6 years 19 weeks ago

Could you put that another way, Dianerreynolds? I, er...., didn't quite follow where you were going with that.

Outback 6 years 19 weeks ago

And, 2950, this is coming from another "Berniecrat": Hillary is just another self serving career politician, this one serving the neo-conservative wing of the Democratic Party, which has been in charge for quite some time. Pro corporate, pro free trade (spelled TPP). Hillary has been up in lights since she bought a New York State based US Senatorship. She drove the final nail in her own coffin when she colluded with Debbie Wasserman Schultz to scuttle any chance Bernie had of gaining the D nomination, though it had long been clear that Bernie would have cleaned Trump's clock! Let that witch burn in hell!

Hephaestus's picture
Hephaestus 6 years 19 weeks ago

You can not compare US with UK in the 1960 /70s

Unions and their political cohorts brought Britain to it's knees... those orgs backed financially by Russia

Subsequently, bringing in their nemisis named Thatcher who found a soul mate in Reagan

These two thought they had reinvented the "meaning of life"

We now suffer the consequence

Hephaestus's picture
Hephaestus 6 years 19 weeks ago

#1 - No disrespect!

You simply do not really know what you are talking about

norgotoad's picture
norgotoad 6 years 19 weeks ago

Hi Outback: Her points are quite simple and clear. Private sector workers bought the Reagan Kool Aid back in the 80's which resulted in de-unionization of the private workforce together with a joyful loss of the defined pension programs, wage increases, and employer paid health plans. You see, it was a belief that each worker would be their own "cowboy" so to speak. Pensions, health care, and wage increases were for "wussies." Instead they would be John Wayne at work and play the market with their retirement with 401k and IRAs. Well, her conservative colleagues were feeling a bit arrogant when the market was going up, and 401k programs were performing OK. Wages flattened, but, hey, John Wayne would just suck it up cowboy style! Then came the big crash of 2008. Whoopsie!! Well the only workers not dumb enough to buy this load of dingo kidneys were government workers. They remained unionized and became the recipients of regular wage increases, employer subsidized health care, and defined pension programs. This resulted in a lot of sour grapes from the dummies who got suckered by the right. Sooo... we have the aforementioned "4 Conditions."

DrRichard 6 years 19 weeks ago

Forget DeVos and look at the public. Unfortunately getting across the fact that privitazation does not work for some industries is very difficult. Far too many people have been conditioned to think that this means socialism = communism = dictatorship. Broadly speaking The really poor are too busy fighting to survive to do much, and the middle class is hanging on and afraid to make waves. They've been put into a state of learned helplessness, or left in ignorance, or don't care because it doesn't directly affect them. Turn around will have to come from the bottom up, from people willing to fight for it and those with a little power who are willing to risk it.

norgotoad's picture
norgotoad 6 years 19 weeks ago

Benjamin Franklin once said: "We must, indeed, all hang together or, most assuredly, we shall all hang separately." Public sector workers chose the former; private sector workers chose the latter. Guess things worked out as Franklin predicted. Stupid results from stupid decisions. No need for sour grapes or sour "conditions."

Dianereynolds's picture
Dianereynolds 6 years 19 weeks ago


Unfortunately, those unfunded and underfunded liabilities the leftie/socialists speak so fondly about are bankrupting most of the cities and states in America.

Outback 6 years 19 weeks ago

#10 (norgotoad): Really! You got all that out of the dieneraynolds thing? Amazing. What I remember about the Reagan era is unions being busted by fiat, and I cite as an example the Air Traffic Controllers Union. I was a shipyard worker for the federal government back when the unions really started to slide in the mid 60's. The unions had a presence and I voluntarily joined the IBEW but, as a federal employee, I had no collective bargaining advantage. It was a "solidarity" thing. I'm having trouble understanding your "John Wayne" concept. I don't believe rank and file union members have ever voluntarily given up the gains their parents and grandparents fought for. The unions were corrupted from within and castrated from above (oh, I guess that would be the equivalent of decapitation, not castration). You and diane are drinking the same fruit punch, I think.

jefflisse's picture
jefflisse 6 years 19 weeks ago

This link explains just how anti-labor..anti-union Reagan really was!

jefflisse's picture
jefflisse 6 years 19 weeks ago

What is it with these f#@kn Republicans. Its bad enough that They've been demonizing organized labor it seems for ever...
But their rank and file, always make these "blanket" statements grouping ALL unions together in their they're ALL one and the same!

How fuckn ignorant can they get?

Ive been a building trades (carpenters 344) union member for 38 years.
Ive wrote in some length in past posts, about the major differences between unions. Ive also posted in length about the anti-labor policies and legislation pushed through in my state of Wisconsin. By the "Koch whore" Scott Walker and the Republican state legislature...

That #1 post by Reynolds made absolutely no sense at all!!
Just another ignorant Republican foot soldier...

jefflisse's picture
jefflisse 6 years 19 weeks ago

I understand why the corporate Oligarchs want to destroy organized labor.They've looked at it as a threat to their (never ending) quest for more wealth, power and control.They only care about themselves..after all, they're Sociopaths!!

But for the life of me... I'll never understand why or how the average Republican on "main street"(Joe and Jane sixpack) got so brainwashed by this anti-union bullshit!! The shear magnitude of it is totally baffling..

Are they really that gullible and easily manipulated?!?

Legend 6 years 19 weeks ago

Fox News. I have worked with a lot of blue collar workers that are anti Union. They have been brainwashed.

Coalage3 6 years 19 weeks ago

If the last election proved anything, its that the democratic party has now become the party of the elites, the 1%.

Gone is the old democratic support for the working man, for christians, for small business owners. Now the dems are the party of free trade and big banking. Their support for open borders just reinforces the notion that they are desperate for voters. The party elites realize now that they have lost middle America, probably for good. And by nominating Hillary, the dems also became the pro-war party. Congratulations!!

What has happened to the democratic party in this country?

Dianereynolds's picture
Dianereynolds 6 years 19 weeks ago

The leftie/socialists appear to be so flummoxed, they have no answer for my post #1 which really proves when they are confronted with logic they just withdraw into the same old spitting hatred mode taking a page from Thom who raises his voice and talks over any guest with a strong opinion.

Thanks for proving my points.

Let me simplify it a bit,

A middle manager engineer in a private sector job makes say $90,000/year with three weeks vacation, the usual sick days off, company contribution to his/her/alphabets healthcare plan, and a 1/3 match to their 401k retirement contribution while still employed. Social security to be available at appropriate retirement age.

Is it reasonable to pay a government employee doing the exact same job the same wages and benefit package with Social security to be available at appropriate retirement age?

Legend 6 years 19 weeks ago

Do you have reference that they do or do not? What does the CEO of your hypothetical company make?

Dianereynolds's picture
Dianereynolds 6 years 19 weeks ago

Rick Steve. I don't have any idea what wou are trying to read into my simple question. Just a simple yes or no will suffice.

Outback 6 years 19 weeks ago

#20 dianereynolds: I've been a middle management engineering manager in a private sector company as well as an employee of the federal government on a couple of occasions so I can relate to your "question", which is really inadequately framed. You haven't provided enough context. It's a typical "false choice", such as "are you still beating your wife? Yes or no!"

As an aside to #17, Diane just answered your question about why Joe Sixpack can't see through this BS; either his/her logic centers were burned out by Faux News or he/she never had the neurons in the first place. All of these people should engage in critical thinking and logic classes at their local junior colleges by way of rehabilitation.

But back to your "question" Diane, I would be inclined to answer "yes", provided everything else was equal. Now if this government employee also enjoys a federal retirement program in addition to Social Security, plus a measure of job security since the federal government isn't so bottom line driven, then my answer would be "no", but your famous market would resolve the issue by offsetting the salary of the private sector employee upward, which is EXACTLY what happens in this country as individuals are still free to move between jobs. For example, my first job as an electrical engineer was with the federal government and I was only on that job for a year when I was recruited by Boeing for a much higher salary, plus equivalent health benefits. So you see, Diane, you need to actually "think" before you post your nonsense here or people who DO think will call you out.

2950-10K's picture
2950-10K 6 years 19 weeks ago

norgotoad said it well....I lived it.....In the early 80's I fought for a union at a very large printing company, and the push back was all Reaganesque bullsht talking points. Many of my co-workers were browbeat with crap like unions are communist and will drive the company out of business. The 401K garbage about "your own personal" retirement fund instead of a guaranteed pension was actually implemented....sweet deal for the company owners and Wall Street criminals....but more misery for underpaid workers.

Many of my co-workers did in fact drink the Reganomic Koolaid....lift yourself up by the bootstraps. The unionization attempt was defeated by firing employees who eventually won a lawsuit. All of this while the hands off/life of leisure owner raided the pension fund and simply gave old timers small lump sum payments. Replacement was a 401K plan ...put in your own money and let Wall Street have their god damn way with it...anybody remember Oct 19th 1987? etc. etc.

I finally came to my senses, took a civil service test, and have been an extremely proud member of a giant union for decades now.

BTW: Reynolds, You know those pesky entitlements you Kochbaggers want to hand over to billionaire bankers. I've been paying into Soc. Sec. for 44 straight years now and still have 7 more years before I'm eligible for the age 67 payout. Yes, I have been working since the age of 16! I have to go two extra years, thanks to Reagan for raising the age at the same time he got rid of pensions.! .... and oh, FYI... I only bike the roads, strickly run on trails. LOL

Dianereynolds's picture
Dianereynolds 6 years 19 weeks ago

Road runner, I will put you down for a non answer which I will expect to get from anyone who responds.

What you forgot to tell everyone about your printing union was during the very early 1980's the Germans dominated the manufacture of printing presses and had unions required many as four men manning a 60" four color press and two or three on a 40" press.

Along came the Japanese presses that required only one person on a 40" and I knew shops where one person could run two presses simultaneously.

This change in technology which the unions hated is what forced the unions out of the printing plants. The unions lost out to modern technology and the print quality of these presses exceeded any the Germans had to date. Today the Germans and Japanese both require a fraction of the employees needed to produce good high quality six or eight color quality printing.

Legend 6 years 19 weeks ago

#22. Since as usual you want to stay fact free I will post a reference. It does not surprise me as the private sector has not kept up with the Government sector because most of the profits in the private sector goes to overpaid CEO's and upper management. Not so in the Government sector.

2950-10K's picture
2950-10K 6 years 19 weeks ago

Reynolds: My answer was quite clear....I want all private sector employees to have what I have, not be jealous of it.

As I commented, we never got a union in at the printing company. That's why I left. The company was out of control, they would buy out competitors just to get their a result they shut down plants in small towns and laid many was god damn blood thirsty capitalism.

We had many multi-million dollar web presses, as well as a high quality sheetfed offset dept....they all ran 24/7 . This company was an example of unionless out of control greed. We worked mandatory 70 hour weeks in the pre-press dept...I witnessed this out of control insanity for many years. Some held on because of a desperate economy and job market while it ruined their family life....I can't remember how many times the company big heads would say to everyone..."you're lucky to have a job! " Well, I didn't let the door hit me in the ass.

Digital tech and free trade changed everything by the 90's...not the Germans. The Chinese can do 4CP extremely cheap...take time to check where all of your Barnes and Noble books get printed..been that way for a long time....but I got out a long time ago too.

Outback 6 years 19 weeks ago

2950: Well I guess it depends on what stresses you out. I'm more stressed over the fact that Trump was actually elected than his antics, which has more to do with Hillary's duplicity than her voting record. And I'm almost sure we'd be in a red hot shooting war in Syria right now if she were in office. Oh well....

2950-10K's picture
2950-10K 6 years 19 weeks ago

Outback: The fact remains, Hillary Clinton's Senate voting record was almost as progressive as Bernie's. Sure I voted for Bernie in the primaries and was as dissapointed as you. Surely you must admit that all of our lives would be much less stressful if she were in the White House right now?

Outback 6 years 19 weeks ago

2950: I fully agree, and to quote Rex Tillerson, Trump is a "f**king moron". So you're right, we're all (or most of us) in deep kimshee. But don't worry about Diane, 2950, she's got a spot reserved in one of the 1%'s lavishly appointed bunkers. And speaking of Diane, I think we should begin addressing her by her real name: Boris. ;-)

2950-10K's picture
2950-10K 6 years 19 weeks ago

Outback: Just look who Crooked Donny has appointed to all of our government agencies, need I say more?...he's taking this country along with the entire world to his own fabricated hell. His mind is tormented and tangled...we're in deep sht. my friend. I'm afraid it"s going to end very ugly for all of us, even Diane.

You know it's funny...I have a good friend /co-worker who sounds just like you Outback, He wanted Bernie so bad, and thus I never hear the end of the Hillary hatred, every damn day.

I just tell him, that he's drinking the Putin Kool aid...LOL ..But I understand your frustration and point.

2950-10K's picture
2950-10K 6 years 19 weeks ago

Boris the billionaires by-product!

Dianereynolds's picture
Dianereynolds 6 years 19 weeks ago


Good answer outback. I agree on many of your points. I think my question was perfectly framed and you are correct in the fact I was getting to the point where everyone understands that whether the government, or outsourcing to private industry, the final completed cost is lower with the outsourced product. As the unfunded liabilities are becoming more apparent, cities all over the country are rapidly moving in that direction. The community I live in has added only two city employees in the last five years. This trend is growing exponentially.

So, that leads us to understand the underlying problem which is, government employees receive too many benefits at the end of their career. I understand this will piss you off but the days of that government gravy train are over.

I would ask that going forward with new hires, the government seek to match the salaries and benefits to those paid in the private sector. Nothing more, nothing less. If something on this order is not done, into the future you will see entire cities run by the private sector with few if any government employees.

Rick Steve, It is silly to discuss anything with you until you get over your inordinate concern with what other people make.

ckrob's picture
ckrob 6 years 19 weeks ago

We don't want no damn Russians screwin' around in our elections;

that's what our God-given Republicans is for!

Legend 6 years 19 weeks ago

#33. As always Diane cannot post fact or reference. It is purely the opinion that Fox News has given her.

Coalage3 6 years 19 weeks ago

To Post #29...unless you are an illegal immigrant hiding from ICE, what "stress" are you supposedly under now that Trump is president? Be has your life changed that dramatically in the past year?

If you voted for Hillary, then you must be pro-war. Just check out her record. I remember when principled democrats used to be anti-war. Not so much anymore. Why do you think McCain and L.Graham like her so much?

Coalage3 5 years 48 weeks ago

Don't you mean the end of democracy brought to you by this democratic fascist socialist? And she is supposed to be the future of the democratic party? What has happened to the democratic party in this country?

From Robby Soave:

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortex was roundly criticized on social media yesterday for supposedly botching a question about Israeli-Palestine relations during an interview with Firing Line's Margaret Hoover. But Ocasio-Cortez's admission that she was "no expert on geopolitics" was much more satisfactory than her answer to a question about the unemployment rate, which she claimed was low merely "because everyone has two jobs."

This is wrong for two reasons. First, people working multiple jobs has no distorting effect on the unemployment rate, which is calculated by taking the number of unemployed people and dividing it by the number of people in the labor force. The raw number of jobs being worked by Americans has no bearing on these numbers.

Second, everyone does not have two jobs. As Bloomberg View's Noah Smith points out, only about 5 percent of workers are moonlighting. This rate has actually dropped slightly over the last three decades.Ocasio-Cortez continued: "Unemployment is low because people are working 60, 70, 80 hours a week, and can barely feed their kids." Again, the number of overtime hours Americans are working has no impact on the unemployment rate.

Ocasio-Cortez blames profit-seeking "no-holds-barred capitalism" for the conditions in which people struggle to feed their kids. Hunger and poverty are indeed problems faced by millions of Americans—14 percent of U.S. householdsexperience food insecurity. Under capitalism, though, world poverty has declined precipitously. Over the past few decades, the economic growth that global trade has brought to developing economies has helped lift a billion people out of poverty. Between 2001 and 2011, some 700 million people exited from extreme poverty worldwide.

"Capitalism has not always existed in the world and it will not always exist in the world," said Ocasio-Cortez. But the scale of human suffering was inarguably greater in the era before capitalism, and would be again in any post-market era, if socialism's failure rate is any indication.

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