One of the biggest items on the transnational corporate, globalist right wing agenda is privatization. In the third world, they aim for privatizing water, oil, energy... and if they could, they'd sell the right to air. Just imagine putting up millions of people in public housing-- privatized, of course, and offering clean, cool air from metered vents or polluted, muggy, hot, unfiltered air-- as in open windows.
So, it is no surprise that the Wall Street Journal, on it's extremist, wild and crazy editorial page, defends the idea of privatizing bridges(subscription required to read full article.) They cite a handful of examples of how mayors or governors have cut deals, usually with foreign companies, to sell rights, usually for 50-75 years, to run roads. They argue that corporations are better are projecting growth in use of the roads, or bridges or tunnels... But you have to wonder. When those urban or state bureaucrats make their lowball estimates, are they doing so with a job offer in their pocket?
If a city official estimates that growth of uitilation of a road will be one percent, and it's really three or four or five percent, then, when the government negotiates with the privatizing company, the government owned asset being negotiated could very well be "sold" in this long term lease arrangement, which usually involves a up-front incentive payment, for a tiny portion of what the asset is really worth. For example, if a stretch of toll road, currently netting, say $100 million a year is projected, but some low-paid city planner to grow one percent a year, while the reality is it will increase two, three, even five or more percent, the increased profit for the corporation and loss for the municipality or state is huge, and it goes on for a very, very long time.
Now, it is very likely that this kind of privatization WILL continue to develop, though I oppose it. If it is going to happen, there should be some caveats.
1-Estimates of growth and revenues should be at least triple sourced from independent experts.
2- re-assessment of growth rates of utilization. If profits are much higher, then a percentage of the profits go to the government, or the lease is shortened proportionately.
3- Just as bidding on government jobs requires multiple bidders, bidding for these long term privatization leases should absolutely be required. And there should be no rush- at least a one year notice. . These are very long term leases.
4- There should be a federal law that prohibits government employees, including legislators, mayors, governors, etc. from taking employment or consultant work, directly or through third or fourth party organizations associated with any privatization project they even look at while receiving a government paycheck. Since the monetary rewards can potentially be enormous, punishment for violation should not be fines, it should be time in jail.
It is very difficult to reverse privatization. When leaders attempt it, they are villified as communists, socialists, revolutionaries or criminals. Yet, so often, privatization IS criminal-- theft, fraud, blackmail, even involving or supporting murder, slavery, causes of unnecessary deaths and more. It's better to get this kind of thing right the first time.
Ideally, getting it right means funding government properly to take care of infrastructure. But if weak, invertebrate or corrupt leaders are going to sell off the American commons, we should at least set up rules that minimize the exploitation of the privatizers.