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The Back Door to Socialism

December 13, 2008

Barack Obama plans to initiate public-private partnerships (PPPs) on a grand scale. While the media focuses on Obama’s First Dog or his left-handed jump shot, behind the scenes he is planning how to become president of the world. Therefore, it is worth enumerating many of his proposed partnerships so as to expose his actual policies, and then offer an Austro-libertarian analysis of these partnerships. As we will see, a mix of public and private ownership is a socialist arrangement, and a sly tactic employed by those looking for increased power, albeit under a different name: the public-private partnership.

PPPs are essentially contracts between a public agency and a private company where assets, risks, and rewards are shared in providing a good or service to the public. The rationale is typically that private enterprise provides greater efficiency and quality of service, while the government agency furnishes additional capital. They are claimed to (potentially) lead to “happy employees,” better educational opportunities, and better public safety. Government agencies reportedly realize cost savings of 20 to 50 percent by using PPPs.

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