We hear the admonition often, and often from Republicans, that government ought to be run like a business.
The MDR’s own intrepid editor Seth Tupper has dared to question this notion. And the statements of so many politicians echoed around my mind as I have observed the uproar over the Army Corps of Engineers’ proposal to charge some users of Missouri River water.
The corps’ plan appears to propose requiring contracts and payments from users who take water from the reservoirs …
Say what you will about water rights and lawsuits. This is what running government like a business looks like. Controller of commodity seeks to monetize said commodity. Is that so wrong?
On public radio’s Dakota Midday program, a Corps official said they agency wouldn’t be charging for the water, per se, but rather charging to store the water. I challenge you to find a more weasely explanation for anything from, say, your mobile phone provider or your car dealer. Feels very Rage Against the Machine-y, no?
There are valid arguments on all sides of this issue, but we ought not let those who glibly make the business argument off the hook if they are now howling at the Corps.
Layer on this our nation’s budget deficits and debt plus arguments that broad taxes should be shunned in favor of user-fees — charging those who use government services — and you get a good case study in taking one’s own medicine.