There's an awesome piece in the WSJ by the guy who used to run the Detroit Department of Transportation. It's an object lesson in how fascism and socialism fail. Here's a tidbit.
We began staff meetings each morning by learning which vendors had cut us off for lack of payment, including suppliers of essential items like motor oil or brake pads. Bus engines that the transportation department had sent out to be overhauled were sidelined for months when vendors refused to ship them back because the city hadn't paid for the repair. There were days when 20% of our scheduled runs did not go out because of a lack of road-ready buses.Power and authority were taken away from local managers and given to people far, far away from the problem. Their loyalty was to their superiors, not the customers. This also makes graft much easier. Payments go out to favored providers based on their political connections and not their usefulness. In the end, the city was looted and services decayed.
The obvious solution for a cash-tight operation is to triage vendor payments to ensure that absolutely essential items are always there. But in Detroit, no one inside the transportation department could direct payments to the most important vendors. A bureaucrat working miles away in City Hall, not responsible to the transportation department (and, frankly, not responsible to anyone we could identify), decided who got paid and who didn't. That meant vendors supplying noncritical items were often paid even as public buses were sidelined.
|In unrelated news, Kathleen Sebelius' department in Washington has been given a 2,000 health care page bill to implement.|