Tags: John Goodman | privatize | government

John Goodman: Ferrara Has it Right — Privatize the Government

By Dan Weil   |   Monday, 18 May 2015 10:00 AM

How necessary are Social Security, Medicare and unemployment insurance programs? Not very, says John Goodman, senior fellow at the Independent Institute.

"A whole host of 'welfare' programs insure you against being down on your luck," he writes on Forbes.com. "But do we really need government to do all these things? A new book by Peter Ferrara argues that we don’t."

That book is "Power to the People: A New Road to Freedom and Prosperity for the Poor, Seniors, and Those Most in Need of the World’s Best Health Care."

Ferrara argues that "individual prudence and the marketplace can solve these problems much better," Goodman says. "The book should be required reading for every member of Congress."

Perhaps the biggest problem: "government insurance for the elderly is invariably run like a Ponzi scheme," he states.

The solution: "Private savings accounts for starters. More than 30 countries have fully or partially privatized their social security systems with private savings, according to former World Bank economist Estelle James."

Meanwhile, you're probably well aware that Steve Forbes, editor-in-chief and chairman of Forbes Media, abhors unnecessary government regulation.

So you probably won't be surprised to learn that he's not so keen about companies abusing regulatory loopholes either. In this case, the company he's upset with is Dish Network.

Its "brazen abuse of the Federal Communications Commission's incentives for small businesses at a recent spectrum auction — to the tune of $3 billion, at taxpayers' expense — was enough to make even a Dickensian villain squirm," Forbes writes in the National Review.

In the auction, most companies deployed their own money to bid for the spectrum. But "using multiple shell companies to qualify for [small business] discounts, Dish Network effectively shaved off more than $3 billion in payments that otherwise would have been made to the government," Forbes explains.

The "designated entity" program offers "qualifying small companies a taxpayer-funded credit equal to 25 percent of the purchase price to help them compete against their larger counterparts when bidding for spectrum."

"One would have a hard time imagining a scenario in which Dish Network, valued at $35 billion, falls in with the Davids, not the Goliaths. Yet, that's exactly what the giant put over on federal regulators," he notes.

"After moves like these, it's no wonder Americans are losing faith in big business."

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How necessary are Social Security, Medicare and unemployment insurance programs? Not very, says John Goodman, senior fellow at the Independent Institute.
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