COMMENTARY: Liberal, Conservative, we hear these terms flung around like insults everyday. They’ve become household labels that serve to define if one believes in large, unrestrained government or small, limited government… or at least they used to. This definitive line that was once so clear is now quite blurred.
My own political position hasn’t changed over time, but the label applied to me has. I currently seem to agree most often with the Progressive paradigm, but I’m in favor of smaller, less bureaucratic government. In fact, I don’t know a single liberal or conservative — whether they be Republican, progressive, independent, socialist or Democrat — who isn’t.
I know that sounds strange, so I’ll say it again: Liberal doesn’t seem to mean what it used to anymore.
While bureaucratic to the point of seeming overwhelmingly enormous, the problem isn’t our government and social-program institutions themselves. It’s their extremely faulty administration and insistence on using antiquated methods to gather and update the lengthy information necessary to the programs.
It’s their complete refusal to stay up to date with current technology… technology developed with the intention to make “triplicate-form” nightmare bureaucracies like ours a thing of the past by helping them be more efficient.
It’s their refusal to work together in the interest of effective organization; agencies constantly refuse to share information with each other.
Privatization isn’t the answer
However, privatization isn’t an answer. It doesn’t improve bureaucratic conditions in American health care. Private health insurance is no less bureaucratic than state-run programs.
Rich or poor, liberal or conservative, it doesn’t matter. When one requires medical care in the United States, they are going to have to wade through an ocean of forms and climb over a mountain of paperwork to access that care.
Information is gathered and never managed. Patients must supply long medical histories repeatedly as individual providers within the same PPO, HMO or other insurance system refuse to share information with each other. Billing is a complete nightmare as charges and payments are outsourced to billing services that manage the accounts instead of in-house physician’s staff.
There is no difference between private and state. The exact same health-insurance companies administer both, yet the red tape is still endless.
Privatization isn’t working in our education system either. Our universities now operate under a corporate model that calls for lower labor costs, so instead of full-time focused instructors, students are taught by armies of part-time, temporary, adjunct instructors who work at much lower pay rates and usually have a second job to be able to afford to teach.
Due to their position as the “minimum-wage workers” of the university industry in the corporate model, they also don’t have health insurance, retirement-plan options, disability insurance or even job security as their positions are the first to be eliminated during each round of semester budget cuts.
Effective, efficient administration
The issue at hand is not how many government/social programs we have; they alone don’t create our bureaucracy. Unnecessarily complicated procedure and policy create our bureaucracy. Lack of efficiency and effective use of technology creates our bureaucracy.
Many of the new online companies are monolithic organizations that span the globe. Yet they manage to provide precision service to millions of people due to their use of streamlined procedure, transparent policy and efficient/effective use of current and developing technologies.
I don’t see why we can’t expect our government to be able to administrate itself and our social programs as effectively and efficiently as an online private business. Moreover, I don’t believe it’s a partisan issue anymore or a matter of difference between liberals and conservatives.
I think everyone in every party is sick and tired of the ineptitude of our bureaucracy and is now in favor of smaller, less bureaucratic government.
Johnson is a writer for screen and print and a visual artist who enjoys cooperative projects and often pursues partnerships with charitable organizations. She lives in Las Cruces.