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PHX787
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Why Not Privatize Nasa And The Park Service?

Wed Oct 02, 2013 3:44 pm

Title speaks for itself, but i'll provide some reasoning. I'd like some "industry experts" from each field to weigh in here. Please be civil and please, keep political party references to a minimum.


Why I think the government should consider privatizing NASA and what it would look like:

When the Japanese National Railways in 1987 was spun off an privatized as 7 JR companies, JNR was heavily in debt, thanks mostly to Shinkansen construction. Frequent appropriation abuses drove the railways division into further debt, and quite a few railway accidents led to the privatization of JNR in 1987. The process took a long time to complete, but now these 7 private divisions are now running rather fluidly and making money.

Now I know the space industry is different, but it should be considered. The ISS would probably be reappropriated to an "international alliance" as it still is, and if you all recall, the last few resupply missions were from SpaceX or other private companies. NASA has a very large budget, direct from the federal government, and is currently shut down save for the Mission Control center in Houston. If privatized, funds would come from ISS rental, spacecraft rental by universities for experiments, usage of equipment, data, and other resources by varying companies, usage of rockets for space satellite launches, the launch pads of Kennedy Space Center, and I believe if privatized and managed correctly, it could be a very successful company.

Same with the park service. Most of the expenses go towards maintenance, that's the obvious given. I think the park service should be privatized and spun off into 3 or 4 different regional divisions. The naming of national parks would still fall under the role of the national government, but the management of the parks would be with these 3 or 4 organized private divisions. Their money would come from visitors fees, passes, user payments, boat rentals on lakes, extending souvenir sales and licensing of souvenirs (magnets, etc). I believe the government would set the "standard" (the classic signs we see, what constitutes a national park, how to manage it, rules for lakes and hiking trails, etc) but the organized divisions would be fully responsible for handing it with the money they make.


I think both of these would be pretty big money saving moves by the federal government, but I want to know what you think here.
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Tugger
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RE: Why Not Privatize Nasa And The Park Service?

Wed Oct 02, 2013 4:04 pm

Because neither is or should be required to make money on their own as they are incredibly valuable resources to the nation overall, providing incredible value to the nation and its citizens as a whole.

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Klaus
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RE: Why Not Privatize Nasa And The Park Service?

Wed Oct 02, 2013 4:10 pm

Public organisations exist in any case.

It makes a lot more sense to actually fix these organisations than to effectively blow them up and let private corporations raid the rubble.

The german railway is a good example of that: The massive political pressure to prepare it for privatization has caused major damage to it without actually making it more efficient. The primary cost block (the rail network) was just split off and kept in public hands while the almost-private railway company focused so hard on appearing attractive to investors that they damaged their capabilities, their reputation and neglected crucial resources, leading to further operational problems.

Had the (private!) banking crisis not interfered, it would have become an utter disaster for the rail customers and public subsidies would just get funneled into the pockets of "investors" as with so many other privatized infrastructure.

NASA is a very different kind of infrastructure, but specifically because its primary purpose is non-commercial research and exploration it would be a grave mistake to privatize it. Most of what was and is great about it would get squeezed out of existence.

Fix its problems where they exist, stop just mindlessly abusing it as a quarry for funds extraction and give it a mission (and I'm not talking about singular things like the premature manned Mars landing, but a more fundamental scientific mission statement) and give it enough of a foundation so it can attract and retain the talent it needs.

The current political crisis brought about by the billionaire-funded "tea party" may actually be the culmination of the harebrained anti-state ideology, but now it is confronted with reality – and that is likely to be its downfall (since apparently the banking crisis wasn't clear enough for everybody to notice).
 
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casinterest
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RE: Why Not Privatize Nasa And The Park Service?

Wed Oct 02, 2013 4:19 pm

These Entities exist for research, exploration and preservation . Some of the functions could be privatize, and they currently are, but for the most part they need to stay part of the federal budget.

As mentioned

Quoting PHX787 (Thread starter):
SpaceX or other private companies

This is a recent development, and yes NASA is contracting with them and helping to make them profitable. However these are recent developments, and privatization does not usually lend itself to spending on research and discovery of items with intangible returns.

The national park system does privatize a lot of contract work, and they get a lot of volunteers. Privatizing them would make these parks more expensive for all, and reduce the enjoyment.
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Acheron
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RE: Why Not Privatize Nasa And The Park Service?

Wed Oct 02, 2013 4:20 pm

Quoting PHX787 (Thread starter):

I have a better idea: cut the funding from poorly managed programs, particularly on the defense side of things, like the F-35 and give it to NASA.

Or stop giving money to Pakistan, Egypt.
Or cut down on the number of military bases around the world you don't really need other than to keep locals under check from straying to far from the US, etc.

NASA shouldn't be for profit, period. If someone wants to make money out space, they are welcome of doing it with their own resources like SpaceX.

But hey, if you want to further hand over space exploration to the Russians and the Chinese, be my guest.

[Edited 2013-10-02 09:29:28]
 
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seb146
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RE: Why Not Privatize Nasa And The Park Service?

Wed Oct 02, 2013 4:37 pm

Concessions stands and gift shops at national parks are contracted out to private corporations. Have you bought a cup of coffee or a small bottle of water at one of these places? Imagine what it would be like if the whole park were privatized. Motel 6 here, gas station there, billboards everywhere. Yellowstone does have a couple of hotels and a couple of gas stations, but not like what private corporations would do.

Why not privatize the military? Imagine all the debt that would just disappear.
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cmf
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RE: Why Not Privatize Nasa And The Park Service?

Wed Oct 02, 2013 4:56 pm

Quoting PHX787 (Thread starter):
I think both of these would be pretty big money saving moves by the federal government, but I want to know what you think here.

Because the motivation for private companies do not align with national interests. In the case of NASA it is very much that return isn't fast enough. NASA has taken a lot of things from dream to commercial reality and thus you now see many of the tasks NASA used to handle transferring to private companies. Supplying ISS a great example. Satellite launches another.

Parks is coming from a different direction. On a national level it is profitable to give residents access to being outdoors, as does protecting natural growth. Private companies would look at the land and decide how they can generate most money from it and thus make the parks inaccessible to many and often much smaller as they use the land for other things.

It is all based on motivation for why we do things. The corporate mentality is great for a lot of things but not all things.
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ouboy79
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RE: Why Not Privatize Nasa And The Park Service?

Wed Oct 02, 2013 5:11 pm

NASA budget cost: $17.7 billion

National Parks: $2.4 billion

So right around $20 billion out of a $3.7 trillion budget. The damage and losses it would cause doing such a thing, that many have already outlined above, just makes this a foolish proposition to even consider. It is like asking someone to try their personal budget each month by not buying a single can of Coke from the vending machine during the month. At the end of the day - it will have little impact and the budget and a great impact on the benefits the two provide.
 
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RE: Why Not Privatize Nasa And The Park Service?

Wed Oct 02, 2013 6:10 pm

Quoting seb146 (Reply 5):
Concessions stands and gift shops at national parks are contracted out to private corporations. Have you bought a cup of coffee or a small bottle of water at one of these places? Imagine what it would be like if the whole park were privatized. Motel 6 here, gas station there, billboards everywhere. Yellowstone does have a couple of hotels and a couple of gas stations, but not like what private corporations would do.

Not to mention they'd jack up entry fees every year. They'd probably start with $20 a person, and further increase it every chance they get. Because, as they say, "they weren't profitable ENOUGH."

Quoting Acheron (Reply 4):
I have a better idea: cut the funding from poorly managed programs, particularly on the defense side of things, like the F-35 and give it to NASA.

Or stop giving money to Pakistan, Egypt.
Or cut down on the number of military bases around the world you don't really need other than to keep locals under check from straying to far from the US, etc.

  
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Flighty
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RE: Why Not Privatize Nasa And The Park Service?

Wed Oct 02, 2013 6:15 pm

They are not similar at all.

The National Parks exist precisely because commerce would destroy them. Commerce thrives on 10-year time horizons. 30 years is about the maximum any businessman gives a crap about. The National Parks think about _centuries_. There just isn't a place in private business for that kind of thinking. Not one.

NASA probably should be privatized. It should have minor in-house facilities and functions. But it should farm out most of its activities to bidders. NASA is about future development and innovations. The National Parks are about preventing them.
 
jetblueguy22
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RE: Why Not Privatize Nasa And The Park Service?

Wed Oct 02, 2013 7:10 pm

Quoting PHX787 (Thread starter):
If privatized, funds would come from ISS rental, spacecraft rental by universities for experiments, usage of equipment, data, and other resources by varying companies, usage of rockets for space satellite launches, the launch pads of Kennedy Space Center, and I believe if privatized and managed correctly, it could be a very successful company.

The problem is you are essentially killing the point of the Space Station. Part of the goal is coming together internationally and using science to find solutions to things and eventually travel to other planets. There is no money to be made in learning about interplanetary travel. SpaceX for example isn't going to fly to Mars to explore. What is their return on that? Nearly nothing but exposure. Plus NASA is already selling leases to private companies for launch pad use. Rockets have been sold to launch private satellites, etc. Companies like SpaceX are about the limit of money making in space right now. Sending supplies to station and eventually people. Sure NASA had created some awesome things over the years. Everybody knows the story about the million dollar pen(whether it is true or not is debatable), but it isn't far from the truth. It costs a lot of money to do the things NASA does, much of which you will never see a return on.

Quoting PHX787 (Thread starter):
Same with the park service. Most of the expenses go towards maintenance, that's the obvious given. I think the park service should be privatized and spun off into 3 or 4 different regional divisions. The naming of national parks would still fall under the role of the national government, but the management of the parks would be with these 3 or 4 organized private divisions. Their money would come from visitors fees, passes, user payments, boat rentals on lakes, extending souvenir sales and licensing of souvenirs (magnets, etc).

The Park service I could see being privatized more so than NASA. The only problem though is limiting the company in what they can do. You don't want McDonalds Yellowstone, it kills the point. I think the better idea is to make the government do the accounting to make the parks come to a break even point. They may already do that. I'm not exactly an expert on that.

Quoting Klaus (Reply 2):
It makes a lot more sense to actually fix these organisations than to effectively blow them up and let private corporations raid the rubble.

Absolutely agree.

Quoting Acheron (Reply 4):
Or stop giving money to Pakistan, Egypt.

Again I agree. Why we are financing governments all over the world when we don't have money to run our own baffles me. I understand the point behind it. But we aren't exactly running a surplus here...

Quoting seb146 (Reply 5):
Yellowstone does have a couple of hotels and a couple of gas stations, but not like what private corporations would do.

I agree we don't want these parks to become shoppings malls. But it can be done, though you would have to heavily regulate what they are allowed to do. Then you have to ask the question, what is the point? Businesses won't want to come near it.

Quoting seb146 (Reply 5):
Why not privatize the military? Imagine all the debt that would just disappear.

Why do you always have to go to extremes?

I'm a big fan of privatization when it comes to certain things. But you really have to be careful with these kinds of organizations. The Parks service I could see becoming Ron Swanson's dream. Want to use the swings? Drop a quarter in. That isn't what the parks were made for. For NASA returns are big in some areas, and lacking in others. Research isn't necessarily a big money thing. That's why there are so many grants for it. Some public organizations are necessary. Not everything can be made private. I think one thing that is off though is your comparison. As I'm sure you've experienced, life in Japan is different from the US. There is a different mindset when it comes to many things. Just because things work somewhere, doesn't mean they will work somewhere else. Otherwise we'd see DL running 747s between NYC-BOS   .
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RE: Why Not Privatize Nasa And The Park Service?

Wed Oct 02, 2013 7:21 pm

Quoting Klaus (Reply 2):
Most of what was and is great about it would get squeezed out of existence.

To be candid, NASA right now has been squeezed almost out of existence. The shuttle program was kept around longer than planned and there was zero vision to replace it with anything, at least not in terms of manned space flight. When you have a political appointee at the top--regardless of party--you only live on a 4 year mission cycle. Can't operate a space program that way. Or much of anything else, which is one more (in the infinite list) of why government is non-functional.

Quoting jetblueguy22 (Reply 10):
The problem is you are essentially killing the point of the Space Station.

Not much point of it anyhow.

****

Here's a thought not yet mentioned--and the idea comes from airports. Many airports are municipally owned but are operated under contract to a private company. In a similar manner, why not farm out management, oversight, and operations of the National Parks to such a company, but with a FAR reduced role of governmental oversight. Cheaper, leaner, more efficient. They can manage the budgets and you just have perfunctory govt presence. Also, by doing this in a contractual manner, you can dictate terms (such as limiting commerce or exploitative things like overuse of advertising and things in parks).

Frankly, my experience with the US National Parks Service (at National Parks, anyhow) has been overwhelmingly positive.

But if you want to talk about privatizing or eliminating, how about we contemplate these along with it?

http://themattwalshblog.com/2013/10/...-the-government-has-not-shut-down/

Dude lists out a pretty comprehensive list of government agencies and branches....take a look and tell me we can't do some chainsaw scale cutting here before even talking about NASA and it's pittance of a budget.
 
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RE: Why Not Privatize Nasa And The Park Service?

Wed Oct 02, 2013 7:59 pm

The actual evidence, rather than the conservative mantra, is that privitization does NOT improve efficiency. It actually makes organizations LESS cost-effective.

And neither basic science research nor the national parks should be run for profit motive. The parks are PUBLIC property. that means that you and I and every American citizen owns them. Their administration will cost money whether it is public or private, so what you are suggesting is privitization for privitization's sake and for no actual benefit.
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PPVRA
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RE: Why Not Privatize Nasa And The Park Service?

Wed Oct 02, 2013 8:18 pm

Quoting cmf (Reply 6):
In the case of NASA it is very much that return isn't fast enough.

That's a myth. You don't have to wait for a full payback of an investment to start turning profits.

Quoting Flighty (Reply 9):
The National Parks exist precisely because commerce would destroy them.

Greenpeace would not commercialize it. In fact, I bet they would be more radical in protecting it than any government agency.

Let the people who care about it the most run it. It only makes sense.

Quoting DocLightning (Reply 12):
The actual evidence, rather than the conservative mantra, is that privitization does NOT improve efficiency. It actually makes organizations LESS cost-effective.

That's hilarious.
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romeobravo
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RE: Why Not Privatize Nasa And The Park Service?

Wed Oct 02, 2013 8:19 pm

There no reason why park management couldn't be outsourced to private companies. Though practically that's not much different. Parks should be devolved to states if they're not already.

I would abolish Nasa myself.

Quoting DocLightning (Reply 12):
The actual evidence, rather than the conservative mantra, is that privitization does NOT improve efficiency. It actually makes organizations LESS cost-effective.

...and I'm curious to see this "evidence".
 
jetblueguy22
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RE: Why Not Privatize Nasa And The Park Service?

Wed Oct 02, 2013 8:38 pm

Quoting DocLightning (Reply 12):
The actual evidence, rather than the conservative mantra, is that privitization does NOT improve efficiency. It actually makes organizations LESS cost-effective.

Can you please provide this evidence? This is the first time I've heard such a thing. I've had professors with doctorates in political science and study public administration who are left leaning who even say the government can be very inefficient. When you have a bottom line you worry more about trimming the fat than when you don't have to worry about a return..

Quoting DocLightning (Reply 12):
And neither basic science research nor the national parks should be run for profit motive. The parks are PUBLIC property. that means that you and I and every American citizen owns them.

They are absolutely public property. But that does not mean they can't be operated by private organizations. Take airports or stadiums for example.

Quoting RomeoBravo (Reply 14):
I would abolish Nasa myself.

May I ask why? I've only heard positive things about returns from NASA.
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romeobravo
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RE: Why Not Privatize Nasa And The Park Service?

Wed Oct 02, 2013 8:59 pm

Quoting jetblueguy22 (Reply 15):
May I ask why? I've only heard positive things about returns from NASA.

I'm not a big fan of public spending. If it's not an essential service people should have that money in their pockets to decide what they want to spend it on themselves. Who knows, they may even decide to donate to a Nasa-like institution voluntarily.
 
cmf
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RE: Why Not Privatize Nasa And The Park Service?

Wed Oct 02, 2013 8:59 pm

Quoting jetblueguy22 (Reply 10):
Again I agree. Why we are financing governments all over the world when we don't have money to run our own baffles me. I understand the point behind it. But we aren't exactly running a surplus here...

If you look into how the money is spent it is much more accurate to call them welfare for US corporations as that is where most of it must be spent.

Quoting DocLightning (Reply 12):
The actual evidence, rather than the conservative mantra, is that privitization does NOT improve efficiency. It actually makes organizations LESS cost-effective.

It is a mixed bag. It all comes down to each situation. There are plenty of good and bad examples on both sides. Of course people with agenda will ignore what they do not like.

Quoting PPVRA (Reply 13):
That's a myth. You don't have to wait for a full payback of an investment to start turning profits.

Is it. try to find companies prepared to invest setting up a station on Mars. Once the technology is proven they will flock to it but in the development phase they all stay away. Not fast enough return.

Another example is aviation. Sure Boeing is doing much of the research but it is money from NASA that makes the look to the future.
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Flighty
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RE: Why Not Privatize Nasa And The Park Service?

Wed Oct 02, 2013 9:30 pm

Quoting DocLightning (Reply 12):

The actual evidence, rather than the conservative mantra, is that privitization does NOT improve efficiency.

There is much evidence (see history of agriculture... history of airlines) that profit motive greatly increases efficiency. Compared to government ownership.

That's why Trabants looked the way they did, and BMWs are nicer cars.

[Edited 2013-10-02 14:32:23]
 
cmf
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RE: Why Not Privatize Nasa And The Park Service?

Wed Oct 02, 2013 11:05 pm

Quoting Flighty (Reply 18):
That's why Trabants looked the way they did, and BMWs are nicer cars.

Considering the number of car companies who have folded I would not bring forward that industry as an example of private industry being successful. Incredible loss of capital in all those companies.
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FlyPNS1
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RE: Why Not Privatize Nasa And The Park Service?

Thu Oct 03, 2013 1:01 am

Quoting Flighty (Reply 18):
There is much evidence (see history of agriculture... history of airlines) that profit motive greatly increases efficiency.

There's little evidence of that in today's world. Take a look at companies like Lockheed Martin who the government gives Billions to in contracts. Every program Lockheed runs is grossly over-budget and behind schedule...meanwhile the upper management of Lockheed rolls in huge payouts and bonuses. However, the government has become so reliant on Lockheed, they can't get rid of them...plus Lockheed aggressively lobbies members of Congress to keep the funds coming. The end result, the people's tax dollars go to a private company, but they get little in return.
 
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RE: Why Not Privatize Nasa And The Park Service?

Thu Oct 03, 2013 1:20 am

Quoting FlyPNS1 (Reply 20):
There's little evidence of that in today's world. Take a look at companies like Lockheed Martin who the government gives Billions to in contracts. Every program Lockheed runs is grossly over-budget and behind schedule...meanwhile the upper management of Lockheed rolls in huge payouts and bonuses. However, the government has become so reliant on Lockheed, they can't get rid of them...plus Lockheed aggressively lobbies members of Congress to keep the funds coming. The end result, the people's tax dollars go to a private company, but they get little in return.

+1

Lockheed-Martin is nothing more or less than a vehicle for turning public funds back into private funds.

That they occasionally produce usable military hardware, software, or logistics support is a pleasant but far from guaranteed side effect of that process.
 
solarflyer22
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RE: Why Not Privatize Nasa And The Park Service?

Thu Oct 03, 2013 1:23 am

I think for the Park Service it does perhaps make sense to outsource and privatize it. There are two problems.

1) The parks are supposed to be free to all Americans. You can't privatize that. Granted, many charge for parking and concessions etc.
2) The Park Police are actually Federal Law Enforcement. They have true police powers. I don't know if you can privatize that.

NASA in my opinion is kind of an R&D department. Thats not going to be profitable unless you sell products. What we do instead is give away their insight and technology. I am fine with that because its essentially open source and has immeasurable benefits to all of humanity, not just to mention the technology. All of the maintenance of facilities probably is or could be privatized.
 
rfields5421
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RE: Why Not Privatize Nasa And The Park Service?

Thu Oct 03, 2013 2:45 am

NASA was necessary to support the incredibly huge costs of developing a space industry.

Today, maybe it isn't so necessary, but it is very useful as setting standards and operating most space launches from the US. At this point, no private company yet has the capacity to fulfill all the launch needs of various companies who want satellites in orbit.

NASA also prevents the USAF, USN and US Army from having to develop their own independent space launch capability.

Maybe in 10-15 years, but not today. Also, a very large part of NASA's funding comes from their commercial satellite launch business.

Most of the federal government budget dollars still go to research and development.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------

National Park Service - no way.

The NPS operates much more than the few big name national parks. There are hundreds of small facilities around the country, National Monuments, National Historic Parks, National Rivers, National Seashores, National Military Parks and Battlefields, National Recreation Areas, etc.

The whole of 401 different facilities operates on a budget of less than 3 billion dollars per year - with over 320 million visitors per year.

Privatizing the National Park Service would not result in a significant budget savings.

Look at it this way - the NPS federal budget is a bit less than $10 per year for each visitor.

The vast majority of those 401 NPS facilities would not make money no matter what is done to increase fees. The number of visitors would be too small.

Many of those facilities are a critical part of our history and national heritage.

Yes, some of the parks are very popular, and likely could make a fair bit of money. The NPS has had to contract out operation of hotels, campgrounds, tour buses, etc - simply because the NPS budget is too small to allow them to operate those facilities. They have to be done by contractors.

Perhaps that is what you mean. Contractors do operate a lot of key NPS facilities. These are private companies who are able to invest in upgrades and improvements, yet keep the fees 'reasonable' for visitors.

For example - Yellowstone National Park has 3,700 contractor employees each summer. The NPS staff is 800, with a great many being seasonal part-timers. Law enforcement, including back country rangers, is a NPS only function.

All of the 2,238 hotel rooms at Yellowstone are concessionaire operated. All the eating facilities, gas stations, stores, tour buses, back country tour operations, etc are concessionaire operations. The only full hookup RV campground is concessionaire. There are over 2,000 campsites in 11 no-hookup vehicle accessible campgrounds. Five of those campgrounds are concessionaire operated with 1,700 of the campsites.

The NPS only operates the smaller campgrounds. And those campgrounds have volunteer hosts who do most of the daily fee collection, cleaning, minor grounds maintenance, etc.

(There are about 1,000 commercial campsites in the West Yellowstone Montana area - mostly for RVs wanting hookups.)

While Yellowstone could possibly be a money generator in overall operation - by giving all the high profit items to contractors and taking a small part of the profit - the NPS likely runs Yellowstone at near a break-even point.

There are maybe four or five total National Parks with that capability.

One key factor in favor of keeping the NPS a government agency - they control the fees that concessionaires can charge.

If things were completely privatized - who would monitor the fees.

The National Forests Service, Bureau of Land Mangement, and US Army Corps of Engineers all use volunteer campground hosts to keep costs, and employees, down. In a growing but small percentage of places, campgrounds are operated by concessionaires, not the federal agency. A volunteer campground hosts normally only receives a free campsite with utilities. A concessionaire must pay their campground hosts (a private company cannot use 'volunteers' as non-paid employees on federal contracts) - but the pay is often very low - minimum wage - plus a free or reduced fee campsite.

Our national parks have to remain available to all our people - not just the rich.

[Edited 2013-10-02 19:52:17]
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RE: Why Not Privatize Nasa And The Park Service?

Thu Oct 03, 2013 3:04 am

Quoting rfields5421 (Reply 23):
The NPS operates much more than the few big name national parks. There are hundreds of small facilities around the country, National Monuments, National Historic Parks, National Rivers, National Seashores, National Military Parks and Battlefields, National Recreation Areas, etc.

The whole of 401 different facilities operates on a budget of less than 3 billion dollars per year - with over 320 million visitors per year.

Privatizing the National Park Service would not result in a significant budget savings.

Look at it this way - the NPS federal budget is a bit less than $10 per year for each visitor.

The vast majority of those 401 NPS facilities would not make money no matter what is done to increase fees. The number of visitors would be too small.

Many of those facilities are a critical part of our history and national heritage.

I agree 100%.

Even if you could run Yellowstone, Yosemite, and Great Smokeys as profit maximising operations (which might be feasible, albeit undesirable), it would be inappropriate to, for example, charge people to visit the Vietnam War Memorial, and utterly impractical to charge people to gawp at the Washington Monument.

The NPS is about preserving the past, not about providing nice tourist attractions. That is merely a by-product. Maximising environmental, historical, and cultural capital does not often sit comfortably with private capital. I have nothing against private enterprise, it is essential for a well functioning economy, but there are some functions which are inherently public in their nature. This is one of them, and when the budget is so tiny then I can't see how anybody could object to it?
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romeobravo
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RE: Why Not Privatize Nasa And The Park Service?

Thu Oct 03, 2013 10:58 am

Quoting FlyPNS1 (Reply 20):
There's little evidence of that in today's world. Take a look at companies like Lockheed Martin who the government gives Billions to in contracts. Every program Lockheed runs is grossly over-budget and behind schedule...meanwhile the upper management of Lockheed rolls in huge payouts and bonuses. However, the government has become so reliant on Lockheed, they can't get rid of them...plus Lockheed aggressively lobbies members of Congress to keep the funds coming. The end result, the people's tax dollars go to a private company, but they get little in return.

That's an example of public sector failure, not private.

Fact is the US spends far too much on defence anyway.
 
FlyPNS1
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RE: Why Not Privatize Nasa And The Park Service?

Thu Oct 03, 2013 11:49 am

Quoting RomeoBravo (Reply 25):
That's an example of public sector failure, not private.

Why is it public sector failure? The government is doing exactly what conservatives want and privatizing large chunks of our defense industry. The problem however is that private companies tend to become inefficient when they become monopolies over a particular line of work. In Lockheed's case, they've developed a monopoly in many government areas which has led to them becoming bloated, inefficient and slow. Plus, the government has to pay more to ensure Lockheed makes a profit. A similar problem would occur if you tried to privatize NASA or the NPS.

Quoting RomeoBravo (Reply 25):
Fact is the US spends far too much on defence anyway.

I agree, but that's what our conservative party has always wanted.
 
lewis
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RE: Why Not Privatize Nasa And The Park Service?

Thu Oct 03, 2013 2:18 pm

Quoting RomeoBravo (Reply 14):
Quoting DocLightning (Reply 12):
The actual evidence, rather than the conservative mantra, is that privitization does NOT improve efficiency. It actually makes organizations LESS cost-effective.

...and I'm curious to see this "evidence".

I'd place the national rail and the mess that privatization has caused. You basically now have sub-standard yet very expensive service on many routes, services being cut here and there and the taxpayer still has to subsidize a lot of the infrastructure expenses. Most of the Brits I know who have seen the transition of the system in private hands are not happy at all with what they ended up getting out of it. Are you? Or maybe you are not the kind of person that would use a train anyway, so who cares.
 
solarflyer22
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RE: Why Not Privatize Nasa And The Park Service?

Thu Oct 03, 2013 2:39 pm

That's a great point on NPS. It's such a small portion of the budget it's kind of non sensical to focus time and energy when it will result in no meaningful gain.

Defense, inteligence and entitlements are where it's at. Defense spending is only 4-5% of GDP which is not that high if you ask me. I d be ok cutting it to 4.00% of GDP IF you guaranteed a 3.5% increase every year to match inflation. That would save 20-30 billion a year. If you do that though, recognize that thousands will get laid off as defense outlays really affect domestic employment as little is offshored.

Honestly I think you just need to raise taxes. I don't think any of the current outlays are that high relative to historic norms. The problem is that tax revenue is lower than normal and we borrow to cover the difference. We are 17 trillion in the hole. What will we do when it hits 50 trillion?
 
IADCA
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RE: Why Not Privatize Nasa And The Park Service?

Thu Oct 03, 2013 3:13 pm

If you back up to a theoretical level, the reason these entities shouldn't be privatized (at least to the extent that implies becoming part of a profit-motivated entity) is that the outputs of the organizations are fundamentally shared public goods that can't be monetized. If a profit-maximizing entity can't charge for some of the outputs of its operations, it's going to charge correspondingly more for the other ones to make up the shortfall or alter the operations otherwise.

To use the national parks example, Parks Corporation wouldn't be able to charge for the clean air it produces, the habitats it preserves for animals whose ranges extend outside the park, or other things (all of which come with opportunity costs), so it would need to either cut the costs of maintaining those things or charge more for the things it can.
 
PHX787
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RE: Why Not Privatize Nasa And The Park Service?

Thu Oct 03, 2013 3:14 pm

Quoting tugger (Reply 1):
Because neither is or should be required to make money on their own as they are incredibly valuable resources to the nation overall, providing incredible value to the nation and its citizens as a whole.
Quoting Klaus (Reply 2):
It makes a lot more sense to actually fix these organisations than to effectively blow them up and let private corporations raid the rubble.
Quoting RomeoBravo (Reply 14):
There no reason why park management couldn't be outsourced to private companies. Though practically that's not much different. Parks should be devolved to states if they're not already.

I never said these would be spun into corporations. Essentially they would appear on paper as non-profit. This would fall under a newly created tax division, called Special organized private divisions, as I mentioned in reply 0.

Quoting Acheron (Reply 4):
Or stop giving money to Pakistan, Egypt.

well, that's one plan :P

Quoting seb146 (Reply 5):
Why not privatize the military? Imagine all the debt that would just disappear.

We tried partially privatizing it. To Blackwater....that went nuts.

Quoting Flighty (Reply 9):
They are not similar at all.

I never said anywhere these would be under the same divisional organization.

Quoting jetblueguy22 (Reply 10):

The problem is you are essentially killing the point of the Space Station.

Well the space station could then be handed over to the UN. NASA would therefore make money on resupply and crew sending missions.

Quoting Flighty (Reply 18):
There is much evidence (see history of agriculture... history of airlines) that profit motive greatly increases efficiency. Compared to government ownership.

This is absolutely true with the Japan rail case.

Quoting lewis (Reply 27):
I'd place the national rail and the mess that privatization has caused.

I wouldn't in the US. Too expansive and not enough money making.
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lewis
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RE: Why Not Privatize Nasa And The Park Service?

Thu Oct 03, 2013 3:21 pm

Quoting PHX787 (Reply 30):
Quoting lewis (Reply 27):
I'd place the national rail and the mess that privatization has caused.

I wouldn't in the US. Too expansive and not enough money making.

Sorry for the mix-up - I meant the one in the UK, which is such a mess because of privatization.
 
ouboy79
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RE: Why Not Privatize Nasa And The Park Service?

Thu Oct 03, 2013 4:41 pm

Quoting PHX787 (Reply 30):
I never said these would be spun into corporations. Essentially they would appear on paper as non-profit. This would fall under a newly created tax division, called Special organized private divisions, as I mentioned in reply 0.

Why do we need yet more tax divisions and non-profit designations? One of the problems we have on this side of the planet is that there are already too many ways to avoid paying taxes that is just gets pointless. We just need to simplify the tax code - essentially eliminate the entire thing and go to a flat sales tax. No more exemptions to anyone. If you by a good or service you pay taxes on it.

Quoting PHX787 (Reply 30):
Well the space station could then be handed over to the UN. NASA would therefore make money on resupply and crew sending missions.

Yes because the UN is well experienced with space operations. Who is to say NASA would even be selected then to resupply the station if Russia or China come in at a lower bid? I admire the attempt to think outside the box, but a little more common sense and thought needs to go into the proposal.
 
jetblueguy22
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RE: Why Not Privatize Nasa And The Park Service?

Thu Oct 03, 2013 6:20 pm

Quoting PHX787 (Reply 30):
Well the space station could then be handed over to the UN. NASA would therefore make money on resupply and crew sending missions.

You want to take the station from well run organizations and give it to perhaps the most dysfunctional multinational group in history? Not going to work. Not to mention you still have to have all the nations involved agree to do it. It isn't going to work. NASA is so much more than just the space station too. The research they do in all kinds of fields is enormous. I can't tell you how many aviation test videos I've watched from NASA in class.
Pat
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slider
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RE: Why Not Privatize Nasa And The Park Service?

Fri Oct 04, 2013 3:31 pm

Quoting DocLightning (Reply 12):
The actual evidence, rather than the conservative mantra, is that privitization does NOT improve efficiency. It actually makes organizations LESS cost-effective.

I too would like to learn where this comes from. Marion County, Indiana would certainly disagree.

You see, government is full of waste and inefficiency. That exists in the private sector as well, no question, but even when privatizing certain functions, and allowing for a reasonable margin, the net costs are still FAR lower than the public sector, especially when you factor in pension liabilities, automatic COLA adjustments, baseline budgeting tactics, etc, etc, etc...

There are many municipalities that have learned this. And heck, keeping it close to home, airports that have been farmed out have done well too. Because you don't have some dope from the city Dept of Public Works (whose previous experience was digging ditches or laying traffic cones) mucking up how an airport should run.
 
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DocLightning
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RE: Why Not Privatize Nasa And The Park Service?

Fri Oct 04, 2013 5:16 pm

Quoting jetblueguy22 (Reply 15):
Can you please provide this evidence? This is the first time I've heard such a thing. I've had professors with doctorates in political science and study public administration who are left leaning who even say the government can be very inefficient. When you have a bottom line you worry more about trimming the fat than when you don't have to worry about a return..

Until you don't have a bottom line because you are a corporation that is running on cost plus contracting.

But privatization works when there is free-market competition. It is inefficient when such competition does not exist. In the running of prisons or national parks or space exploration there is no free-market competition. I can choose to fly DL instead of UA. I can't choose to go to a different set of national parks. If I get sent to prison, I can't choose one privately-operated prison over another. If I want to send a probe to Jupiter, it's not as if I can choose between United and Delta Space Lines to get the probe there.

In those situations, privatization can increase costs due to the profit motive and it very often increases corruption.
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cmf
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RE: Why Not Privatize Nasa And The Park Service?

Fri Oct 04, 2013 5:34 pm

Quoting Slider (Reply 34):
You see, government is full of waste and inefficiency.

Prove it. Not that it exists but that it always is so.
Don’t repeat earlier generations mistakes. Learn history for a better future.
 
Flighty
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RE: Why Not Privatize Nasa And The Park Service?

Fri Oct 04, 2013 5:41 pm

Quoting FlyPNS1 (Reply 20):
The end result, the people's tax dollars go to a private company, but they get little in return.

100% agreed. Lockheed is bad. And, it would never survive without government bureaucrats creating its business model and enabling what it does.

Real people would not pay that money to Lockheed given how inefficient they are. But real people do pay their cell phone bill enough to support satellites launched by SpaceX for example, because it's worth the money. Lockheed used to be government by sensible procurement officers and customers. But it all went deep into hell.

There are nuances to this, and government does have its role (National parks admittedly). But government enterprises aren't renowned for efficiency or pleasing customers.
 
FlyPNS1
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RE: Why Not Privatize Nasa And The Park Service?

Fri Oct 04, 2013 6:11 pm

Quoting Slider (Reply 34):
That exists in the private sector as well, no question, but even when privatizing certain functions, and allowing for a reasonable margin, the net costs are still FAR lower than the public sector, especially when you factor in pension liabilities, automatic COLA adjustments, baseline budgeting tactics, etc, etc, etc...

Not so true at the Federal level.

http://www.pogo.org/our-work/reports/2011/co-gp-20110913.html

Quote:

"Specifically, POGO’s study shows that the federal government approves service contract billing rates—deemed fair and reasonable—that pay contractors 1.83 times more than the government pays federal employees in total compensation, and more than 2 times the total compensation paid in the private sector for comparable services."
 
jetblueguy22
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RE: Why Not Privatize Nasa And The Park Service?

Fri Oct 04, 2013 6:52 pm

Quoting DocLightning (Reply 35):
Until you don't have a bottom line because you are a corporation that is running on cost plus contracting.

Okay so in those situations. It seemed to me you inferred private businesses are always less efficient.

Quoting DocLightning (Reply 35):
In those situations, privatization can increase costs due to the profit motive and it very often increases corruption.

I can't argue about the corruption part at all. I think we've seen plenty of that. But I'm thinking more along the lines of allowing separate companies operate separate parks. They all compete and there is true competition. Giving a no bid contract is screaming for trouble.

Quoting cmf (Reply 36):
Prove it. Not that it exists but that it always is so.

It isn't always so. But it is certainly filled with more waste and inefficiency than not. It's because of the way we give funding. If you don't use all the funding from that year you lose it. How backwards is that? We should give budgets based on what is going to be needed that year. We should reward these departments for not burning through all of their money, not punish them by taking funding away.
Pat
Look at sweatpants guy. This is a 90 million dollar aircraft, not a Tallahassee strip club
 
cmf
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RE: Why Not Privatize Nasa And The Park Service?

Fri Oct 04, 2013 7:21 pm

Quoting jetblueguy22 (Reply 39):
It isn't always so.

Great. With that finally out in the open can we now stop the blanket statements that it is and instead make sure we run them efficiently.

Quoting jetblueguy22 (Reply 39):
It's because of the way we give funding. If you don't use all the funding from that year you lose it.

Funny thing, there is no shortage of companies operating like that.

Quoting jetblueguy22 (Reply 39):
We should reward these departments for not burning through all of their money

We should reward them for being efficient. Very different from measure them on having money left. Another thing we should do is stop all the crazy extra restrictions we put on them. Allow them to hire and reward qualified people for example. Stop complaining when they do the kind of office/individual rewards private companies have found so efficient, etc.

However, the very first step is to stop misrepresenting the situation.
Don’t repeat earlier generations mistakes. Learn history for a better future.

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