While champing at the bit to do my part in boosting the ailing economy by spending all the bucks I'm going to get from the just-approved tax cuts/rebates, I was listening to National Public Radio and — Eureka!! — a revelation occurred:
Wal-Mart. We simply turn over the management of the country to the Boys of Bentonville. Government, business, airlines/transportation, military, media, health care, you-name-it. Let Wal-Mart run it. Even agriculture: Wal-Mart Farms. Has a nice ring to it.
Geez, it's so simple. The Principle of Privatization lifted to its loftiest level. Consider these highlights of the NPR series extrapolated to solutions for today's ills.
At Wal-Mart, the overriding priority is the customer.
Substitute “taxpayer” for “customer” and turn all government functions over to WMT. What a concept! Wal-Mart is pit bull personified when it comes to getting the best price possible on everything it sells while keeping its overhead to an absolute minimum. Imagine what their management team could do for hopelessly bloated, convoluted, unresponsive, profligate government agencies.
Wal-Mart last year was named the nation's most-admired company, with a work ethic “rooted in small-town America and its values.”
Contrast that to an ever-more expensive government bureaucracy that's derided for its inability to relate to or adequately serve its constituents, a corporate community that has the confidence level of a carnival sideshow hustler, and a health care sector that has become so costly, over-managed, and impersonal that the frustration of dealing with it is often worse than one's ailment.
Apply the WMT philosophy to all of 'em.
Wal-Mart is the largest private employer in the world; its employees number more than the U.S. Army.
Should be no problem, then, for them to take over staffing and management of all sectors public and private. I can hear new military inductees assembling on the parade ground at daybreak to sing, “Oh, we're the Wal-Mart Army…” Should strike fear in the hearts of Al Qaeda. Or a dapper, uniformed greeter cheerily telling foreign potentates, “Welcome to the Wal-Mart White House.”
When Wal-Mart staff travel on company business, they stay two to a motel room (Best Western preferred; no Ritz Carltons) and make do with a $25 per diem.
Compare that to the president, Cabinet members, and other luminaries who require government aircraft, limos, a security contingent, and other extremely expensive pampering wherever they go. Give 'em all 25 bucks and put 'em up at Best Western.
Wal-Mart's ability to collect and analyze data, then apply that knowledge to what its customers want, is unparalleled.
Contrast that to a government which never seems to be able to know how much anything will cost, where massive cost overruns are endemic.
And Wal-Mart Farms? Don't laugh. Although the report didn't mention agriculture, Wal-Mart already is one of the American farmer's largest customers. Consider all the food/clothing/household products at Wal-Mart that trace back, in whole or part, to the farm. Their grocery business is now dominant in much of the country.
“If your company's success is due to fat profit margins, Wal-Mart is coming after you,” the NPR story said.
On second thought, that would eliminate agriculture.