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January 10 2019

Lesson of the Shutdown: Government Controls Too Much of Economy

by Charlotte Hays

There is one lesson of the partial government shutdown that is going unnoticed--it is that government has too much control over such industries as aviation, tourism, and recreation.

This is probably not where Democrats want the discussion to go. However, if the shutdown continues long enough to cause serious discomfort, people are going to begin murmuring the dreaded "p word"--for privatization.

The only person I've seen addressing this issue so far is Chris Edwards, who writes at MarketWatch. He writes:

The problem with the shutdown is not that President Trump is holding the government “hostage,” as House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer said, but that the government has taken hostage of too much of the U.S. economy.

Consider security screening at the nation’s 450 commercial airports. The government took over that function in 2001 when it created the Transportation Security Administration. Over the years, the TSA has generally done a poor job, caused congestion and wasted a lot of money.

And now, because the TSA is the only screening organization we have, the shutdown may affect the entire nation’s air travel. A spokesman for the TSA screener’s union said Tuesday: “Some of [my members] have already quit and many are considering quitting the federal workforce because of this shutdown … The loss of officers, while we’re already shorthanded, will create a massive security risk for American travelers since we don’t have enough trainees in the pipeline.”

Our government-run air traffic controller system is also affected by a government shutdown. In national parks debris is famously piling up because of the shutdown.

Edwards points out that many nations already have separated the air control system from government. Airport screening has been privatized in many nations, including the U.K. and France. Edwards proposes an interesting change in the way national parks are run:

The solution is to restructure the parks as nonprofit organizations self-funded by fees and contributions, or to transfer them to state control. Today, while the government’s Frederick Douglass National Historic Site in Washington, D.C. is closed, the well-run and private Mount Vernon in Virginia—home of George Washington—is open for business.

Edwards predicts that, as deficits soar, there will be more shutdowns. What if there were less government to shut down? Edwards concludes:

The federal government’s budget management is a total mess and getting worse. To limit the damage, it’s time to untether the government from as much of the economy as possible.

Read the entire article.





Independent Women's Forum is an educational 501(c)(3) dedicated to developing and advancing policies that aren’t just well intended, but actually enhance people’s freedom, choices, and opportunities. IWF is the sister organization of the Independent Women’s Voice.​
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