Like most laws, the Arizona law, SB1070, was written by some legislators and some other people with interest. The ones interested this time want to build prisons in Arizona for women and children. You think I’m kidding, right? No.
Last year, two men showed up in Benson, Ariz., a small desert town 60 miles from the Mexico border, offering a deal.
Glenn Nichols, the Benson city manager, remembers the pitch.
“The gentleman that’s the main thrust of this thing has a huge turquoise ring on his finger,” Nichols said. “He’s a great big huge guy and I equated him to a car salesman.”
What he was selling was a prison for women and children who were illegal immigrants.
“They talk [about] how positive this was going to be for the community,” Nichols said, “the amount of money that we would realize from each prisoner on a daily rate.”
But Nichols wasn’t buying. He asked them how would they possibly keep a prison full for years — decades even — with illegal immigrants?
“They talked like they didn’t have any doubt they could fill it,” Nichols said.
That’s because prison companies like this one had a plan — a new business model to lock up illegal immigrants. And the plan became Arizona’s immigration law.
There is something very wrong with people hoping to make money off of putting children in prison. There is something wrong with people making money off of putting anyone in prison.
This is all a part of the problems with “privatizing” activities that should be the responsibility of government. With the profit incentive, they tend to perpetuate their existence.
So, if prisons are to be profitable, then they need a steady stream of prisoners. That leads to changing laws to hike up the penalties for minor crimes.
If security firms like Blackwater are to make a profit, they need the U.S. to be engaged in decades long conflicts in other countries. (You know that American citizens — especially the teabagger types — would never submit to what Blackwater has done to the Iraqi or Afghan people, so Blackwater must profit from tax dollars through their actions in other countries.)
Yes, let’s privatize everything.
Businesses fail or get bought out by other companies. We could let our government fail. But wait, the one time, every time that our government got into a situation that a similarly run company failed, we would stop it from failing? Or would the government be the one company that never failed. Maybe like Ford? Or AT&T? Or Southwestern Bell?
Should our government be run like a business?
Who should make sure that you don’t get cheated? You know that in business, if you aren’t cheating, you aren’t trying.
Who should make sure that you don’t get hurt? Let’s go back to the 1800’s and let everything go — Ebola here we come!
And while we are running our government like a business, let’s run the judicial branch like that as well. Under-performing judges get fired. Clarence Thomas would be first on the list. And no more life time appointments. Let the market decide who should be on the SCOTUS. And why have anyone recuse themselves? If the market supports them, they should be allowed to judge those cases.
And in the end, profit wins. A few win. The idea that somehow we all win is not in the cards in this scenario. In business, someone must lose. Everyone knows that. In business, everything is a competition. Competition means there are losers.
But in governing a country, we have to help the losers. We have to. For far too long this idea that business sense will work for government has crept in and it is a powerful thing to fight against.
It’s the essence of the exchange between then candidate Obama and that infamous Joe. It’s also the essence of what that other Joe told me (though he was wrong, again): you lose.
It doesn’t afford for people who aren’t ambitious. It doesn’t afford for people who are disabled. It doesn’t afford for people who are different from the norm.
This way of governing is not what the Republicans have brought, nor what they believe in. Quite the contrary. As with the Arizona bill, the business model people want to get to all that tax money — whether it is through the prison system, defense, or education — they want that money.
That’s why the teabaggers will never win. They want to de-criminalize pot. Sorry, it’s too profitable to put people in prison. They are isolationists, but the Blackwater types and defense contractors won’t let them cut off their government teat. And lastly, Republicans, especially the Bush family, want to make money off of education, so the Department of Education won’t be abolished, as long as the Bush family is making money off of it.
This has been the most ridiculous election I have ever seen. And the fact that the post-election analysis has neglected to look at the record amount of money spent — how could it be that all that money didn’t generate jobs? How? The same people who give the money get the money. It’s a closed system.
I want to say we are screwed, but I still have hope.