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Are Social Programs on Their Way to Being Privatized?

Discussion in 'Political Discussion' started by PatriotsReign, Jun 27, 2011.

  1. PatriotsReign

    PatriotsReign Rookie

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    Interesting thought to which I really have no opinion at this point. But there's an article in today's Boston Globe that announces Massachusetts is going to experiment with the idea.

    This concept first started in England recently. These privatized programs are funded with "social impact bonds".

    Investors may fund social programs

    Massachusetts, others eye new model to fund social programs - The Boston Globe

    "Massachusetts could be among the first states in the country to raise money for social services by offering investors the chance to earn profits on programs they establish.

    The approach is known as “social impact bonds’’ or “pay for success.’’ It is based on the idea that if programs backed by investors succeed in reducing, for example, the number of inmates in prison or the homeless population, governments will realize big savings, which they can tap to pay off investors with healthy returns. If the programs fail, the government would owe little or nothing."


    On the surface, it sounds like a good idea. Especially because programs must be successful in order to cash in on the bonds and make a profit.

    Any thoughts?
    Last edited: Jun 27, 2011
  2. wistahpatsfan

    wistahpatsfan Rookie

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    Depends on the program. I could see (and have seen) it work in something like urban housing development- things that could fail and have lower damage. But as for programs for the disabled and emergency response...no thanks. Too much at risk. I don't believe in the religion that the private business model is always better than the public sector no matter what.

    Edit: Private prisons create an inherent conflict of interest with civilian rule of law.
    Last edited: Jun 27, 2011
  3. DarrylS

    DarrylS PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Privatization has made inroads in many government services, with mixed results. The first thing that comes to mind is corrections, and usually the bottom line dictates what or what does not happen in a private prison, with profit being the major indicator. Usually they cherry pick who they want, and if too disruptive can send them back..

    Prisons are a slippery slope, as how do you measure succesS?? usually private prisons are medium or minimum security populations so their success may be better, as opposed to max or supermax populations which are usually hard core and have less chance of success.... how do you measure.

    It has happened in many other areas as well, often with mixed results.. the reality of these budget times is that it is easier to cut a private agency budget, than it is to cut a state agency budgets.. my daughter works for a program for disabled adults, and they have experienced more and more cuts, she now has more responsibility with the same compensation..

    Privatization of state services sounds good and maybe even sexy, but usually it is a mixed bag of results.. often times the proposed provider has a religious background, which is in itself a conflict of interest..
    Last edited: Jun 27, 2011
  4. PatriotsReign

    PatriotsReign Rookie

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    Darryl, one note here is that the example of privatization you mentioned are not like the type the article describes. This new type is funded with "social impact bonds", not tax dollars. In these cases, it's the private corporation that puts up the $$ for the bonds.

    Another difference is, if the perform according to a measureable goal, then they can get their money back or even make a large profit. If they fail, they lose their money.

    I doubt prisons will be a part of this new private/public venture because they can't be measured regarding success.
  5. DarrylS

    DarrylS PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Not sure how you can measure success for any of these programs as there are so many variables to control for. Private programs across the board have mixed results, in just about every area as do public programs..

    In RI a lot of our intervention programs are private, and none do real well...

    It seems that many of them have a religious agenda and that concerns me...

    BTW there are private prisons all over the place, Wyatt Federal Detention Center in Central Falls, Alaska sends some of their prisoners to private prisons in Arizona.. they are more predominant out west.. bottom line is that there are too many people in jail.
    Last edited: Jun 27, 2011
  6. PatriotsReign

    PatriotsReign Rookie

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    I'm with you regarding private prisons...we should never have gone there.

    When I went to an alcohol/drug rehab, it was private and it was good. Back then, health insurances would pay for them, but not so much anymore.

    I'd prefer we keep the "separation of church & state" going regarding these programs. I wouldn't want to see a private religious group getting involved in these new private/gov't ventures...they just don't mix.
  7. mcgraw_wv

    mcgraw_wv Rookie

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    I can see this turning into special interests preasuring government to raise taxes in order to increase dividens on those investments, or not lower taxes in fear of reducing the payout.

    Not good.

    We need a consistent, predictable amount of tax money, and then you decide what you want to do with that money, you can't take a loan, you can build more schools than you have the money for... what's wrong with saving?
  8. DarrylS

    DarrylS PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    But unfortunately the get in the door somehow..

    Slick presentations, political affiliations and "different" ideas(usually unproven) are sometimes funded.. disregarding the religious affiliation.

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