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Argument: Government avoids pitfalls of focus on profits

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"The Case FOR Bureaucracy." GovernmentIsGood.com.: "Myth No. 3: We Want the Government to Act Like a Business. The astronaut John Glenn tells a story about his first trip into space. As he sat in the capsule, waiting nervously on the launching pad, he couldn’t stop thinking about the fact that NASA had given the contract for the rocket to the lowest bidder. This raises another important point about government bureaucracies: we don’t always want them to act like businesses. Conservatives are constantly saying that we would all be better off if government were run like a business. But would we? Businesses are obsessed with their bottom lines and are always looking for the cheapest way to make a product or deliver a service. But in many cases, we don’t want government services to be as cheap as possible. Often, with government, the main concern is the quality of the service, not its costs. For example, do we really want to spend the least amount of money possible on our air traffic control system? Obviously not – the main goal should be maximizing the safety of the aviation system. Also, do we want the cheapest possible workforce in charge of security at our airports? Again, of course not – and this point was even acknowledged by Republicans when they agreed to abandon private security companies in favor of a federalized system in the wake of the 9/11 tragedy. Private security had certainly cost less, but it is clearly better to have a federal program that spends more money on training personnel and pays higher salaries to attract employees who are more capable."

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