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Privatizing the Sunshine State... The New Economy In FloridaBill Annett Salem-News.com
The Republican platform promises to do better. I don’t think they have done so bad. Everybody’s broke but them. - Will Rodgers
(DAYTONA BEACH) - (Editorial note: Rick Scott, the Republican Governor of Florida, has recently demonstrated that he is Governor of all the people, by allowing free Scottcare to State senators, while he continues to do a bang-up job of legislating away the slightest trace of socialism and other maladies that threaten our freedom. As a cost-cutting measure, for example, he's installed the firing squad on Death Row in lieu of tethal injections. (12 freelance riflemen drawing minimum wage, eleven of whom are firing blanks. You can't get any smaller government than that). In addition, the Governor has introduced legislation privatizing all prisons, hospitals, day-old bread distribution and alligator husbandry in the Everglades.
His most recent proposal is a groundbreaking innovation, never attempted before, even by Genghis Khan: the ultimate last word in smaller government, greater free enterprise and the unbridled capitalism we all hold dear.)
Here in Florida we're fortunate to lead the nation and the world's governments into a new era, where individual initiative will triumph over the last vestiges of deadening socialism, a renaissance that will strike at the very core of our sick public institutions. Beginning at the State level, the successful innovation the Governor is introducing could eventually extend to the nation's capital and even the Presidency itself. Introducing the world's first corporate government! Here's the way it works:
Elections will still take place as before, although in the case of Florida there will be the option, determined by the State Attorney General, of calling on the Supreme Court to determine the outcome, especially in Presidential elections if there are enough spoiled ballots. A third option will be granting anyone over 70 Golden Year Voting Exemptions (GYVE) along with a special dividend in lieu of ballots or food stamps.
Once elected, the Governor will immediately announce the incorporation of his office as a limited company, of which he will become CEO, while the Lieutenant Governor is named Chief Operating Officer. An initial public offering (IPO) of stock will follow, say about ten million shares priced at $10, capitalizing the Governorship at $100 million. This IPO will be available to the public, but the elected (or Supreme Court appointed) Governor, now CEO, will be entitled to take down about 30% of the stock, while the Lieutenant Governor will be allotted 20%. The Governor will immediately create a board of directors by anointing those members of what was formerly known as his cabinet.
You see where this is going? Right away you'll recognize that the legislature and state senate will become obsolete as such, but will be allotted preferred shares of stock as an advisory body, saving a substantial amount of taxpayer money. In fact, in short order, there will no longer be taxpayers at all, since they will be replaced by those who choose to become shareholders). I said almost obsolete. The representatives and state senators will still convene, but only quarterly, in order to set strategic corporate policy and okay what Rick (I mean the CEO) has been doing. Sort of like corporate directors. Huge saving. Maybe ten grand each per quarter, instead of 50k or so.
Lobbyists at the state level (and ultimately in Washington) will of course be encouraged, but they won't need to juice the senators and state representatives all that much because Rick (I mean the CEO) will be calling the shots, the way it should be in any well-run corporation. Everything he does will be designed to make a profit. (Focused on providing catalysts, reducing headwinds and leaving a corporate footprint going forward, both top line and bottom line, as Maria Bartiromo might say.)
I hope it isn't necessary to point out the immediate transformational effect this corporate approach will have on the State government. All former government departments will immediately become privatized, operating as subsidiary companies to the Governor-parent, which for want of more jazzy lingo we might hereinafter designate as Govcorp.
The Department of Highways, for example, would be reborn as a for-profit construction company, the Department of Motor Vehicles re-jigged as a sort of statewide car dealership, and as for the Department of Health and Welfare, there would be an immediate installation of Scottcare, modeled on the system in Massachusetts, modified in that it will be run as a private capital company. (Incidentally, Florida hospitals will need little or no revision, since they are already operated as profit centers, such that they are usually empty.
This will be followed by the automatic end of all welfare systems, including food stamps, all of which bureaucracies would be replaced with an insurance company and a sister pharmaceutical organization, operationg as subsidiaries of the GovCorp. Both of these companies will automatically operate at a profit from Day One and make any public safety net unnecessary, simply because nobody will lack initiative, and every former taxpayer will instead be free to invest as a shareholder. Everybody under the new regime will be a self-starter and an innovator, instead of looking around for handouts all the time.
Instead of creating legislation, the CEO of Govcorp (Rick, at least for the time being) would concentrate his efforts on new and exciting venture capital projects and all kinds of new commercial opportunities. Everything that Govcorp introduces will be expected to turn a profit, and in this way there would very shortly be no need for any taxation, because all of the enterprises clustered in Tallahassee will operate in the black, as will all of the shareholder-citizens.
Critics might immediately suggest that public services would suffer, at least at the beginning. Not so. Because of the trickle-down nature of the profit-making entities that were formerly government departments, the flow of services to the public will be vastly improved. Everything will be pay-as-you-go, of course, because all the citizens will, right from the outset, have a greatly increased capacity to pay their own way. Socialism will be as dead as any politician to the left of Rand Paul.
Here's a brief example of how Govcorp and the new system will operate. Let's say it's July, and a devastating Category Four hurricane hits the coast, coming ashore around West Palm Beach and moving northwest roughly following the Turnpike toward Orlando.
Instead of what would formerly have been a government-run state of emergency, with all the FEMA-like inefficiency that entails, several corporations based in the capital would immediately spring into action. MoState (the former Department of Highways), working closely with CopsWithoutBorders (CWB), a private police corporation, would organize an orderly pay-as-you-go evacuation north and south on I-95 and west on I-75 across the Everglades, with in each case all six lanes operating for outbound traffic. The modest toll charged by CWB would produce substantial revenue which in turn would be loaned by the company to any businesses or individuals suffering damage from the hurricane.
MoState meanwhile would have organized emergency sales agencies in West Palm and would be in place to provide immediate sales, lease deals and even temporary rentals to speed the residents' evacuation. GoodHands, the insurance company that would have replaced the former Department of Insurance would of course be a central player, especially following the clean-up phase, during which it would clean up more than any other corporate entity.
No longer will Florida be an object of old-folks jokes by late-night comedians, but an active, vibrant society that will certainly inspire the rest of the country to privatize. Imagine this sort of post-government culture taking hold in Washington. What we could do by privatizing federal departments such as Defense and Homeland Security boggles the mind.
And to think it all had its simple beginning with Rick Scott cutting off food stamps to pampered druggies, not to mention replacing all those expensive lethal injections with a single bullet for each loser.
Bill Annett grew up a writing brat; his father, Ross Annett, at a time when Scott Fitzgerald and P.G. Wodehouse were regular contributors, wrote the longest series of short stories in the Saturday Evening Post's history, with the sole exception of the unsinkable Tugboat Annie.
At 18, Bill's first short story was included in the anthology “Canadian Short Stories.” Alarmed, his father enrolled Bill in law school in Manitoba to ensure his going straight. For a time, it worked, although Bill did an arabesque into an English major, followed, logically, by corporation finance, investment banking and business administration at NYU and the Wharton School. He added G.I. education in the Army's CID at Fort Dix, New Jersey during the Korean altercation.
He also contributed to The American Banker and Venture in New York, INC. in Boston, the International Mining Journal in London, Hong Kong Business, Financial Times and Financial Post in Toronto.
Bill has written six books, including a page-turner on mutual funds, a send-up on the securities industry, three corporate histories and a novel, the latter no doubt inspired by his current occupation in Daytona Beach as a law-abiding beach comber.
You can write to Bill Annett at this address: email@example.com
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