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  • Judge Jim Gray

The Private Sector Does It Better!

There’s a joke going around libertarian circles that Democrats think that government can take care of everybody and everything. But Republicans are different because they think that government doesn’t work at all, and then they get elected to office and prove it! On the other hand, libertarians realize that, overall, the private sector does virtually everything better than government does. Witness the great environmental work done by The Nature Conservancy, the emergency work done by the Red Cross, the emergency medical work done by Doctors Without Borders, the successes in lifting of people out of poverty by providing them with farm animals and small start-up business loans like Heifer International, OXFAM and Technoserve. In fact the list of private sector organizations that obtain far more effective results than government goes on and on. And why are these organizations so successful? Because either they produce or another organization will do a better job, which will, in turn, reduce or even eliminate their funding. In other words, even though this is a competition for donation dollars, competition works! The private sector has it, and governments do not.

In this regard, I challenge you to come up with much of anything that big government does effectively! In fact, I will go so far as to say that big government is only really good and effective at one thing, which is increasing the size, cost and power of big government. And, once established, government agencies never go away. President Reagan said it best that government agencies are the closest thing on earth to eternal life. (He also said that one of the scariest sentences in the English language is “Hello, I am from the government and I am here to help you. . .”) A glaring example is the Bureau of Indian Affairs. The lowest group of people on the economic scale is consistently the Native Americans that still live on reservations, which are mostly dominated by the BIA. Treat Native Americans like adults and abolish the Bureau of Indian Affairs! Let Native Americans educate their children, own their own homes, and be responsible for themselves like everyone else. No other racial groups have a government agency expressly set aside for them, and they all are doing better than the Native Americans. Victimization doesn’t work, but competition and responsibility do! And then take that lesson and severely reduce if not eliminate some other government agencies as well. Or at least start thinking about and discussing that possibility!

This article is a reprint of an original post published on Judge Jim Gray's site. The views expressed in it are those of the author and not necessarily the views of the Libertarian Party of Orange County.

James P. Gray is a retired judge of the Orange County Superior Court, and presently works as a private mediator and arbitrator for ADR Services, Inc. He was also the 2012 vice presidential nominee for the Libertarian Party, and can be contacted at, or through his website at

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