mind your business

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Most Private Companies Aren't "Private"

I work at a private university. And I recently heard a student complaining about the red tape and lack of communication surrounding our financial aid process. A fellow employee aware of my political beliefs said, "Even at a private business, things don't always go right, do they, Eric?"

Now, there is an important lesson here. Because yes, private businesses can still suck. Just because they're private doesn't make them benevolent. It simply forces them (in most cases) to respond to the market.

But, the FAFSA process at a "private" institution has nothing to do with a private business. A private business will struggle with any horrendously managed, government-run bureaucracy.

It's the same reason I want people to stop complaining to me about Boeing. It's not a private company, by any means. Those of you who have watched the film "Why We Fight" or seen Eisenhower's Farewell Address warning us about the "military industrial complex" know what I'm talking about.

A private industry dependent on federal subsidies isn't private, doesn't follow the same rules, and doesn't deserve my defense.

By: Eric Olsen, Regular Columnist
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