People for the American Way‘s paper (available in PDF form) titled Predatory Privatization, is a must-read overview of how corporate players are attempting to use state and local budget crises as an opportunity to seize essential public assets and functions, making America closer to an oligarchy:
Privatization is a wonky term that can obscure the real mechanism and process at work. Through privatization schemes to outsource traditional governmental functions, taxpayer dollars are diverted from the building of public assets and institutions to create long-term revenue streams and profit for corporations.
Through privatization schemes that directly sell off assets that belong to the public, legislators enrich corporate interests at the expense of the long-term interests of the American people in assets their taxes have helped build. The privatization of the people’s assets is essentially permanent.
The agenda of privatization schemers was manifest at last August’s American Legislative Exchange Council meeting in New Orleans where ALEC members urged that the government, meaning the people, should not own buildings but should sell them to the private sector, which could then lease the space back to the government at a profit. In 2009, the state of Arizona even mortgaged its own capitol complex to investors and turned the legislature itself into a tenant.
Privatization is almost always promoted as a way to save money, improve services, and shake up unaccountable bureaucracies. But in reality, privatization often fails on all counts.
A study released last fall by the nonprofit Project on Government Oversight found, for example, that in 33 of 35 occupations, the government paid billions more to hire contractors than it would have cost to have the same functions performed by government employees.
Read the rest at Predatory Privatization