December 2, 2013


Private Toll Road Investors Shift Financial Risk to Taxpayers. Companies that build private toll roads are pressing states to assume more financial risk of traffic not meeting expectations, a change that benefits the operators while threatening to increase taxpayer costs. San Francisco Chronicle

Privatization and the Affordable Care Act. These policies of contracting out government work also help all administrations claim they were reducing the size of government. Even though as much money – or more – is spent, there are fewer civil servants on the payroll, and that was a good political message. So from Reagan, through Bush I, Bill Clinton and Bush II, contracting out was standard policy. For this reason, President Obama inherited a government, especially a Health and Human Services agency, with no internal IT expertise. When the Affordable Care Act required a quite complicated web site and interface with other parts of health care networks, it became time to write contracts. Truth-Out

The Privatization of Intelligence. If you think the prisons are being privatized, check out the secret services. Ever since Iran-Contra blew a window open on arms and drug smuggling, covert teams formerly run by the CIA started disappearing and reforming under new ownership. StevenHager420

IL: Is the Big Build-Up of Chicago’s Infrastructure Bank Justified? With former boss Bill Clinton by his side, Emanuel unveiled a concept known as the Chicago Infrastructure Trust (CIT) that promised to tap private money to improve highways, transit systems, bridges, sewers and other public capital assets. The message was clear: If the federal and state governments couldn’t or wouldn’t help, Chicago would help itself—or at least get assistance from friends in places like Citigroup and JPMorgan, who had pledged their support. “……Today it’s been more than a year and a half since the trust was created, and Emanuel has little to show for the program that some speculated would be his crowning achievement. The trust only last month approved its first deal. With so few tangible accomplishments so far, that raises a crucial question: Is Chicago’s program really one worth replicating?  Governing

NY: Watchdog: Private-public initiatives at crux of scandal. Navitech Services Corp., the main contractor on a pair of county projects at the center of an alleged bid-rigging scheme, may be the first local business that could feel financial pain from the scandal. It probably will not be the last. At stake in the case — in addition to the bottom line for a number of local businesses — is the safeguarding of millions of taxpayer dollars, the county’s public safety communications infrastructure, the county’s information technology systems, and perhaps the community’s overall business reputation. Rochester Democrat and Chronicle

FL: Editorial: Slam the door on more prison privatization in Florida. Massive new prison privatization in Florida is dead for the moment, and it should stay dead.Post reporter Pat Beall proved that case way beyond any reasonable doubt in her five-part series “Private Prisons: Profits, Politics, Pain,” which concluded last Sunday. Ms. Beall used many pieces of evidence to make her case that the state’s roughly 2-decade-old experiment with private prisons has been good for the companies and lousy for Florida. She showed that putting the profit motive where it does not belong has led to wrongheaded sentencing policies (see editorial below) and not the much-promised savings.  Palm Beach Post