The Backwardness of Government Agencies

While private companies generally stay up to date utilizing state-of-the-art technology, government agencies usually stay a decade or two behind.  This has certainly slowed down the government’s response to the current coronavirus pandemic.

As Steven Greenhut writes in the Orange County Register:

“Government agencies and public utilities are the most preposterous examples of stasis. We can (kind of, sort of) complete some tasks on the Department of Motor Vehicles website. We can pay our electric bill online. You can check on the status of your traffic ticket on the court website. You can even track an overnight package that you sent via the Postal Service. Mostly, though, these agencies operate as they operated in 1983, or 1965 for that matter.

"Even odder, the public schools aren't appreciably different from when the first public school systems were created eons ago. Oh yeah, we now bus kids to the schoolroom, float bonds to build fancy gyms, and prosecute the parents of truants. But the model is the same. Your kids sit in a classroom for a set period of time, learning whatever it is the educational authorities have determined that they must learn.”

Here in Pennsylvania, this problem can be seen in the difficulties people are having applying for their unemployment benefits due to the antiquated software in use in Harrisburg.  UPMC was delayed for weeks in rolling out a testing program because the FDA refused to give them a green light to do so.  Who knows what medical innovations might have been possible to fight this pandemic if the CDC, FDA, and other governmental health agencies had up to date technology at their disposal.

We libertarians know that the more that can be left under the control of the private sector, the better off we all will be.