Friday, April 3, 2009

Who's laughing now?

Career government officers can be forgiven for engaging a head spinning these days.

After all, it wasn't all that long ago that we heard manta after mantra about how government is mismanaged and needs to be run more like a business.

Certainly there were instances where this was true -- especially when red tape tied up simple decisions and procurement practices wasted taxpayer dollars.

But the rub is that there seemed to be some perverse thinking that government always got it wrong and big business always got it right.

We now now that wasn't always true. After all, when their party train derailed, where did the mavens of corporate America turn for a bailout?

This is not to suggest that government is beyond criticism and perhaps one of the most compelling attacks has to be on whether it should bail out "free enterprise" (particularly when so many corporate executives have played around with taxpayer bailout dollars). And what happened to postage rates and service when the Post Office Department became the United States Postal Service?

There are, of course, parallels between management in the private and public sectors but there are also necessary differences. Those differences need to be respected, not abused.

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