Have you ever questioned the claim that private businesses can provide essential services more cheaply than government-provided services? Just the fact that a private business needs to make a profit to pay its shareholders and government doesn't should be good argument against this belief. Our tax dollars pay for a service whether it is done by the government or farmed out to a private business. Since private companies need to make a profit, our taxes will go up if we privatize a service. In many cases our government is far more efficient and saves our tax dollars. For example, the administrative costs of Medicare are about 2 percent of its operating expenditures, whereas insurance companies administrative costs are 12-18 percent of their operating expenses. Our government has a pretty efficient system set up with Medicare, but we are taught that private is better, so we pay more money to support insurance companies, for-profit hospitals, and claims specialists. Think how much money each of us would save if we all used Medicare. What about our roads? If we turn to private investors to help rebuild our roads and bridges, we will pay for it with higher fees and tolls than our government would charge because it doesn't need to make a profit. What would happen if the United States Postal Service is privatized? You can bet that it would cost more to have a letter delivered to a rural area that a private company doesn't want to bother to service than to a major city. Private is not always better. The next time you hear a politician say that we ought to privatize a service for the public, think about what the motives are. Is it to save our tax dollars or to funnel them to the rich?
Ellen Wolcott, Charleston