Pozzuoli: Broward County’s Failures Prove Businesses Can Do It Better Than Government

Guest Columnist

Tough times have a way of exposing weakness.

If the gulf oil spill has shown us anything, it has demonstrated the limit of what our government is able to do. On the campaign trail the president promised competent leadership, but the Gulf disaster has proven those promises to be empty, as competence has been noticeably absent from the recovery efforts in the Gulf.

There may have been no easy fix to the oil spill, but there is no excuse for the unorganized and ineffective response we saw. For many of us, it confirms our suspicions about big government. As it grows larger, it becomes more clumsy, bloated and corrupt.

If a business were run like the government, it would be bankrupt in a matter of weeks, but the examples of government’s ineptitude and failed programs keep growing. Education, perhaps the government’s premier service, is failing miserably. Parents who are able choose private schools or charter schools that have better graduation rates and assign resources where they matter. Medicare wastes more money than any other federal program, yet its strong public support leaves lawmakers hesitant to address program inefficiencies, which cost taxpayers and Medicare recipients billions of dollars annually.

Whether it is providing goods and services, or creating jobs, private sector businesses are better prepared to respond to the needs of the market. Disaster victims of Hurricane Katrina were met with aid in the form of services, food, water, medicine, flashlights and shelter from Walmart, Federal Express, and many other large and small businesses, while the federal bureaucracy worked to get a response plan together. As our economy continues to sputter, billions of dollars in government stimulus spending cannot produce enough jobs to keep pace. The biggest engines for job growth are created in response to a market demand for their products just look at sales for products and services from the likes of eBay, Apple and Google.  The government simply cannot compete with private industry’s ability to produce real growth and durable jobs. 

In spite of this, the government’s reach keeps growing, seeking to involve itself in our economic lives by running everything from healthcare to our auto companies and banks. However, most Americans do not agree with this plan. In fact, 60 percent of nationwide voters surveyed in a recent Rasmussen poll said they favored a repeal of the recently passed healthcare law.

As Americans tally up the results from all of the government’s efforts, they are only growing more distrustful of Washington’s fundamental belief that the government can do a better job at managing things than they can. They realize that big government produces the big bureaucracies that breed cronyism. We need look no further than Broward County to see how this works. Gross mismanagement, spending and corruption have left our county reeling. Hard working taxpayers are paying the price for our government’s bad choices, and each day brings more corruption charges and indictments.

This country is in the midst of a struggle to define the rightful role of government. Those of us who favor of smaller government value our freedom and object to intrusion into our lives and finances. We realize that you can never truly have political freedom without economic freedom.

(Ed Pozzuoli is a commercial litigator and president of Tripp Scott law firm. He is former chairman of the Broward County Republican Executive Committee.  Pozzuoli has a leading legal role in the reapportionment in Florida, a role he also had in 2002.  A graduate of the University of Miami Law School,  he was president of the UM’s Iron Arrow Honor Society.)

7 Responses to “Pozzuoli: Broward County’s Failures Prove Businesses Can Do It Better Than Government”

  1. Commissioner Angelo Castillo says:


    It is very good public policy for the private sector to lead in the creation of jobs and economic opportunity. Same goes for the the general provision of goods and services. The problem arises when they can’t or won’t do those things.

    In my view, government intervention only becomes justified into matters traditional to the public sector when unment public need creates significant societal threats that the private sector can’t or is unwilling to resolve them.

    Government’s role is to provide such services as the people require but can’t get at all or as well from ourselves as individuals or collectively through the private sector.

    The size and scope of government has stretched and contracted, not exclusively but generally and primarily in response to that relationship. In that sense, we can say that government should be smaller when the private does more and grows to meet our pressing public need when we as individuals, or the private sector can’t or won’t.

    So, for example if the private sector doesn’t want government lending money to small businesses, then let’s get our bankers lending again. Our small businesses need loans to expand and create new jobs to absorb our 12% unemployment. Don’t condemn government for lending to small businesses when the banks won’t lend. People need jobs and that need is pressing.

    If the private sector doesn’t want government involved in health care, fine. Start selling affordable insurance policies. Stop the blame game and figure it out. Only don’t fail to achieve that goal and yet ask that we live in fear of getting sick because we can’t afford to buy health insurance. That’s a miserable way for any American to live.

    If we object to government bailouts to big companies then stop managing those companies so irresponsibly that bailouts become more desirable to our nation’s interest than plunging us into a Depression.

    If we don’t want government involved in economic development, fine. Get the private sector to invest in projects and activities that move our economy forward. Our families need economic relief.

    Government very much WANTS the private sector to do those things. Of course they’re better at it. But when they can’t or won’t, and when that fact threatens our people’s way of life, should government just sit by idle? Should government allow misery to envelope our society simply because the private sector won’t or can’t provide relief?

    Here is a more rational way to look at this issue.

    The private sector has no right to impose misery on society simply because they find that result profitable. Government has no right to ignore misery simply because the private sector is currently unavailable or unwilling to resolve society’s pressing problems.

    The brilliance of our system is our ability to stretch — within reason — to help ensure that the needs of our people are met no matter the conditions.

    So the issue at present is not whether government or the private sector should should be striving to solve the current problems of our society. We already know the answers to those questions.

    The question confronting us today is WHO IS WILLING AND ABLE step up and solve them? Alternatively, are we the people willing to accept the misery that inevitably comes from doing nothing to solve our own concerns?



  2. More Republican Propaganda says:

    Mr. Pozzuoli complains that government has grown too big. It doesn’t stop him and his firm from making $1s millions from the state Senate on reapportionment. A political food fight is a good use of our tax dollars!

    Business is created to make a profit. Insurance companies make a profit by denying coverage to the poor and those with chronic illnesses. Wall Street made money by selling opaque financial instruments at a profit even thought they knew they were largely worthless, just getting us in the current mess we are in.

    (Both the failure of the government to act in Katrina and the failure to properly regulate Wall Street took place under George W. Bush, who Pozzuoli supported. It was Bush who first used our tax money to bail out the big banks and Wall Street.).

    Government can’t be run like a business because it has a different function. It protects us. It provides a safety net for the poor. It prevents average people from being exploited.

    I would like to know which business Pozzuoli would use as a model for government. The Penn Central. Planet Hollywood. Bethlehem Steel. Air Florida. Levitz. All were acclaimed as business models and all are gone.

    When Republicans say that government should be run like a business, watch out. Because to them it means allowing business and the rich to do anything they want, while average people get screwed.

  3. Reality Check says:

    Private sector all the way!! That’s the solution.

    Like when the government BP caused the gulf oil leak, the private sector was able to step in and stop it instantly after three months.

    Like when reckless Wall Street conduct nearly caused a global economic meltdown, it was the private sector the federal government which stepped in and saved us.

    Or when the American auto industry was on the verge of total extinction due to government regulations bad planning and failing to meet market demands, it was American businesses the federal government that stepped in and saved our American auto industry.

    Great spin, Eddie, but all you’re trying to do is a GOP repackaging of George W. Bush’s terribly failed legacy by asserting a false rewriting of history. Or, to use a market example: you may be selling, but I’m not buying it!!

  4. Garfish says:

    “If a business were run like the government, it would be bankrupt in a matter of weeks, but the examples of government’s ineptitude and failed programs keep growing. Education, perhaps the government’s premier service, is failing miserably. Parents who are able choose private schools or charter schools that have better graduation rates and assign resources where they matter.”


    Cite some statistics, don’t fear monger and just use partisan propaganda. Hmmmm, why do private and charter schools have better graduation rates? because they selectively admit their classes, and they can kick out the bad apples. They are not held to the same standards as public schools. Your editorial is an epic fail.

  5. Floridan says:

    We often hear this vapid talk about government being run like a business, but exactly what business?

    Circuit City? The Tribune Company? Scotty’s? How about Enron or World Com? Point Blank Body Armor?

    There is a lot of room for debate onthis issue, but not when all th at is offered is rewarmed Fox News rants.

  6. Steve Schwin says:

    What they mean by “government should be run like a business” is that they can swiftly make decisions, freely assign resources where they are most effective, and get rid of dead wood.

    School janitorial services are a perfect example of something that would be better outsourced. If the bathroom wasn’t clean they could go with company B, C, D, on down the line until it’s clean every morning.

    If there was a rule that parents use the same school bathroom as their child every morning when they drop off their kid, the principal would be in there herself with gloves and a mop…

  7. Roger says:

    Mr. P.,

    Why would private schools have far more resources? How about those $7000 dollar and up tuition rates.
    Bad example to use Mr. P. Private schools should do better with far more resources. As to Charters being better? A handfull at best. You obviously are not familar with the quality of Charters in Broward County. Pines/Springs/Charter School of Excellence and several of the Somersets and the Hebrew day school (or language school as they claim) are about it for quality. The remaining bunch should be shut down and yes, I observed them repeatedly over the last couple of years. To make a blanket statement that they use resources better or to imply they are superior just because they are Charters is far from the truth and you had no clue about it Mr. P. You just assumed and you know what that stands for don’t you?

    There are many Districts that try outsourcing and
    some do save money. In my experience (now retired) I have found deep pocketed vendors are eager to underbid the true cost of a contract and falsely inflate the savings expectations of Districts only to slam them with hidden fees and charges and undocumented kickbacks on purchases that the Districts reimburse them full list price for that usually start showing up the second or third year of multi year contracts. This usually also coincides with the expiration of any grace periods for employees that were previously District employees. These are the lowest paid workers in the District to begin with and now they face having to interview to retain their job and almost universally at a much lower rate of pay with far fewer benefits if any. See what happens here? At the same time the company is raising it’s fees it’s slashing it’s expenses and easily makes up the early losses and the District is not getting the promised performance (new hires of lower quality due to low pay/experience level or rehires that are disgruntled over pay cuts) and no where near the savings. And the District is now over the barrel as they can’t easily resume self operating. Mr. Schwin’s assumption that you can keep switching companies easily shows he doesn’t understand how long the bid process takes,how long contracts last and how large a contract any South Florida District would be. There are only a handful of companies that could attempt to take on custodial for 200+ schools and it doesn’t happen overnight. To assume a private company will do it better and cheaper is with all due respect just foolish. Far better to be realistic and realize that private companies will do what they are supposed to do and that is maximize their profits. I should know, I have worked that side of the street also.