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Those Responsive Government Bureaucrats

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Here’s a letter that I sent this morning to the St. Petersburg Times:

Former Miami Herald employee Robert Steinback, pleading for greater government control of health-care markets, writes: “I don’t understand people who fear government bureaucrats – who have no profit motive and ultimately must answer to the people – yet feel fully at ease with corporate bureaucrats whose sole interest is the bottom line and answer only to shareholders” (“Matter of life, death [2],” Dec. 9).

I wonder how Mr. Steinback would reply to a proposal that newspapers be run, not by profit-seeking owners, but by government bureaucrats.  If he means what he says in your pages, then his reply would go something like this: “Wonderful idea!  Privately owned and operated newspapers are run solely to maximize the bottom line, so the public gets screwed.  But with government bureaucrats running newspapers, reporting and all other newspaper operations will surely improve.  Because government bureaucrats are unconcerned with profits and ultimately must answer to the people, we can be confident that newspaper operations will be efficient and unfailing serve the public.”

Now, if Mr. Steinback would reply differently – that is, if he would object to government operation of newspapers – I then wonder what has become of his inability to understand those of us who distrust government bureaucrats.

Donald J. Boudreaux