Wednesday, September 23, 2009
I was listening to Mike Francese on the FAN yesterday. I have been a Mike fan since he started there 21 years ago. I used to call him up off air to ask for advice about a former student who had become a great high school basketball player. So I feel this long-term relationship with him.
But I am disconcerted when Mike enters into the political arena, which he did with his attack on the proposed health care changes yesterday. Mike takes the view that government can't do anything right. The corollary must be that private is better.
Well, I just had a day and a half of nightmare private plumbing, where a 10 minute job turned into hours. And 10 minutes after the guy left, the place leaked like a hole in a dike without a finger. And I actually know something about plumbing, having done lots of work on my own, including installing baseboard heating. I mean I can solder a joint. And sweat it. And put on the flux. This guy was a destroyer and I ended up with more work needed than when he started.
Hey, Mulgrew, where are all those apprentice plumbers you were working on?
I find Mike's take interesting since he knows his sports, none of which is under government control – at least the last I looked. Well, if you consider that politicians who run government are happy to subsidize any stadium that comes their way, I guess they are involved in sports. But has Mike looked at the privately managed NY Mets lately? Or the Knicks? How about the classic decade long failures in sports management like the San Diego Rockets. Or, even better, J-E-T-S!!!
This lauding of private over public leaves out so much about the enormous failures and errors privately managed organizations make all the time. Microsoft has been notorious for numerous errors in judgment and has wasted billions. Anyone remember Bob? Their bloated software is known not to work until they sell you 3 versions. They can waste these billions because they were brilliant in setting up a monopoly.
This is all pretty funny since Bill Gates thinks he knows what's wrong with public schools, yet brought the Microsoft ethos by getting the first iteration of small schools wrong. Now in the 2nd iteration, he is looking at teacher quality. Guess what Bill? Maybe on the third try you'll get it right. Try class size reduction.
How about all those captains of the financial meltdown? Can you spell A-I-G? How was that private management? The guvment owns so much of them and they don't seem to be doing worse.
Now I read that former Ebay chairwoman Meg Whitman, a McCain advisor (how did that work out) is running for governor of California. Whitman's errors at Ebay in recent years became legendary. Even I scratched my head when she bought SKYPE. (See recent NY Times on this one.) I'm not picking on women here, but how did Carly Fiorina (another McCain advisor who went down in flames) do at HP?
Now when it comes to health care, my wife knows a thing or two. She deals with the thievin' insurance companies and medicare all the time. In terms of competence, guvment wins all the time. (Right now she is looking forward to retirement so she won't have to deal with the the crew at GHI and HIP who don't know who covers what and when.)
So, Mike. Take a broad look at guvment and private and give us a balanced view.