While it comes to no surprise, I am a conservative Republican. If you have been following the 2016 election, Republicans have been screaming about big government.
Big government is the Republican’s favorite boogeyman. They always say big government sucks, and want to fight big government. I’m a conservative and I’m skeptical of big government because I believe in accountability. I don’t believe government is being held accountable in ways certain things are in the private sector.
Political scientist Albert Hirschman came up with two things that he believes helps an institution get better:
- Exit: Can you leave something, do I have a choice? In the government there is only one IRS or one DMV. However in the private sector if you don’t like Uber, you can use Lyft instead.
- Ability to have a voice: The private sector allows us to have a very loud voice. The private sector allows us to rate the quality of a restaurant or an Uber driver.
Why don’t we expect this from our government? What if we could import these methods into how our government works? As a conservative I don’t want someone to end up with a bunch of money. I want incentives aligned properly so we can have our voices heard in the same way that I decide what restaurants I want to go to or not go to.
Can we take these tools and make them more a part of how we govern our country. When this does not happen we end up with:
There is an underground bunker that holds paper records that have not been digitized by the government, and there is no rush to make them digital.
If this happened in the private sector, the company would face pressure from its board members, the shareholders and its customers. Because there is no exit and voice, this can happen.
Hirschman’s theory was contrasted in the New York Times “Upshot” Blog’s piece on the controversy surrounding the TSA’s long lines. We don’t have the option to choose which airport we can fly out of. We don’t have a voice. The NYT blog said that the issue was not partisanship but that we should have good data that can help fliers make better decisions on which airport is better.
Why don’t we work with what we have and just make it work more effectively? The problem is conservatives are saying we are fighting big government but all we want is accountable government.