Anyone that has ever managed a company knows the importance of a P&L; it is the Profit and Loss Statement that explains how much money a company made. In the simplest of terms, success is a good P&L, which means taking in more money than you pay out. The primary or “Bottom Line” priority of most businesses is to make the amount of money on the bottom of the P&L as large as possible. You can do that in one of two ways, either increase the money coming in or reduce the money going out; in most cases management woks on both of those processes. This is the heartbeat of our free enterprise system. It works really well if you are selling soda pop, socks and etc.

That model however does not translate well to a number of community supporting services. The profit motive distorts the real needs within the system for things like education, police, fire, correctional facilities and healthcare. For these types of endeavors we should not be looking to have more money at the bottom of a report. When you attach a “For Profit” entity it changes the processes and motivations. By its very nature, the types of pricing and cost cutting done in private businesses do not provide a higher level of service, especially when you add in the need for money to be left over when the process is completed.

A number of power brokers look at the money being spent on providing services and say something to the effect, “I want a piece of that.” Look at the people financing the move to privatize social security. There is a lie being told that private business practices will improve efficiency and reduce costs of government services. Hell, they often don’t even work for business. Walk through the average mall and take note of the empty spaces. Is that how we want our essential services provided?

We need models where all of the costs are covered, including payroll, and the income required to support it is minimal. I am okay with government doing that. Regardless of populist thinking, considering the scale, budgetary constraints and other obstacles, government in most cases does pretty darn good job. If you can’t trust government to do those things then perhaps we should look at possible “Not for Profit” solutions. In either case, I cannot get behind turning those types of services over to private corporations.

Profits drive our economy, and are a good thing. However they are fundamentally juxtaposed to the needs of providing basic human and community services.