One of the more objectionable traits of the previous Metro Council (pre-2007) was their shameless tendency to funnel Metro "infrastructure" dollars toward non-profits as a way of pandering to and exercising influence over them. Karl Dean claims that he has reformed that process, and yet he still panders and uses them for influence.
And it does not seem that that the current crop of candidates are deviating from mayoral cues. They seem bent on seeing the value without counting the costs of privatization. And in electoral terms why not? Non-profits bring with them networks of potential donors and voters and prestige associated with non-profits that enjoy most favored status within the Courthouse class.
- Government officials feel less responsibility to citizens when the work is done by private organizations. Bureaucracy already defuses personal responsibility; privatization dislocates it.
- Non-profit leaders do not have to be accountable as elected officials do every four years.
- Independent organizing efforts without government contracts are at a competitive disadvantage in influencing policy to the most favored non-profits who can mobilize their networks during elections and legislative decisions.
- Not only does privatization itself not guarantee government reform, but it tends to distract attention and deplete energy from internal reform.
- Privatization is an obstacle to campaign finance reform even as it numbs people with utopian, kumbaya-infused dreams about "partnerships." Religion was once considered an opiate; non-profit ideals are now.
- Large sums of government money go to non-profits, many of whom rely on volunteers; governments save money without considering questions of living wages or fair labor practices.