Loss of Public Goods


Handing Over the Reins of Government
Public Goods Post 
For several decades, and out of sight of most Americans, advocates of privatization have been handing over the reins of government to corporations. These moves are almost invariably made on the basis of claims that government – the federal government in particular – is enormous and is constantly growing, and that contracting out costs less. All these claims are false. In reality, the federal civilian workforce has not grown in a half century. In reality, as a percentage of the total US workforce, the federal workforce has been declining since the 1950s. In reality, federal government spending on goods and services has not increased as a percentage of GDP. And in reality, contracting-out often costs much more than federal workers providing the same services directly. Read more…

Public Goods: What You Need to Know, and Why
Public Goods Post 
Things have changed. Since the November 2016 election we need a new vocabulary, more than ever. If we are going to preserve the myriad essential public services, benefits and protections that we all need, then we have to give them a name – so we can talk about them and act to keep them. Otherwise, how can we comprehend and preserve the multitude of essential products that come from what we call “government,” long maligned and now so threatened? A name for all those things we get and use daily, and the name we need in public discourse, is “public goods.” Read more…

The Public Economy in Crisis
Public Goods Post 
For decades, Americans have been told that government’s problems can be fixed if only government were run like a business. This is false. Historically, the imposition of a market model on public agencies and repeated moves to mimic the market have been a central cause of “broken” government.

This Post announces the publication of The Public Economy in Crisis: A Call for a New Public Economics, written by June Sekera, founder of the Public Goods Post. In the book, June proposes a new explanation of government as an essential, non-market economic system rooted in democratic choice. Read more…

Freedom to Harm
Public Goods Post 
This Post is about the erasure of regulations that is taking place outside of the media spotlight. It takes its title from a 2013 book by Thomas McGarity, who wrote about the consequences of eliminating regulations that protect people and the planet, thereby giving corporations the “freedom to harm.”

Underway today, if out of sight, is the “deconstruction of the administrative state” promised by the Trump White House. This deconstruction is aggressive and violent: it means the demolition of the capacity of our government to protect the safety and health of Americans, to repair and maintain our basic physical infrastructure, to protect the environment and to provide myriad essential public goods and services. Read more…

Unfriendly Skies?
Public Goods Post 
68,000 flights landed safely today in the U.S. That’s almost one per second. All landed safely because of a system of air traffic control maintained by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and its National Airspace System (NAS).

Like so many of its daily accomplishments, government successes such as this are rarely reported. Once again a public good — 49 million* safe takeoffs and landings each year — remains invisible. Read more…