The public and the private

Fran Lebowitz on the distinction between public and private from Index Magazine, 1996:

What could be a worse idea in the world than privatizing jails. What could make the whole idea of jail any worse than the idea of: Let’s introduce the profit motive. This is already a horrendous situation, and let’s let someone make money off of it! What could be a worse idea for health care than letting hospitals make money. This is a terrible idea. People don’t understand that when they say, “The Government,” they act like we live in … this isn’t fascist Italy. This is a democracy. We are the government. I don’t mean this in some sort of stupid Republican Boy Scout way, I mean, unfortunately, we are the government. I wish we weren’t. I wish there were a bunch of really smart people who were the government, and you weren’t the government. But, unfortunately, you are. So in the case of, say, health care, people who can’t afford to pay for their own health care have a public hospital, which is paid for by the taxpayers. Which means you have lots of levels of bureaucracy, lots of incompetent people, because who gets those kinds of jobs, and lots of wasting of taxpayers’ money. That’s bad. That isn’t nearly as bad as letting people earn that money.

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