I haven't posted until now because my internet (and cable TV) connection was down.
Comcast is the provider, a monopoly in my area for highspeed internet until recently when Verizon put in lines for speedier connections. But both are giant corporations that have provided pretty good service a lot of the time, unbelievably bad service some of the time, and no service at all on too many occasions.
My power was entirely out a week or so ago for a day. I've lived in the apartment I'm in for three years now and the power has gone out I'd say about twelve times. Some of those were just for several hours, but a couple lasted a day or more and one lasted several days meaning all the food was rotten and I was trying to sleep in a heatwave with no fans let alone air conditioners, etc. (And I'm talking about power in a relatively large area that's part of the metropolitan New York area, not Bagdhad.)
It seems to me that it happens more often these days than when I was a boy. The 1950s was a terrible time for many of us in terms of civil rights and women's rights and gay rights and human rights in general. But what it did do well was keep corporations relatively regulated so that they operated with less outright greed and more public concern.
The tax rates were so high it didn't make sense to make the kind of gargantuan salaries or bonuses we've seen since the Reagan era when the regulations got thrown out and taxes decreased so that most of us began paying more in taxes (payroll, social security, etc.) than the wealthy did on their incomes. Back in the day, a CEO had an incentive to look toward long range financial goals rather than the quick kill in which he (or the rare she at that level) could score enough to insure a wealthy lifestyle for generations of his family to come, which is the dominant trend among the greedheads that run too many corporations these days.
But my point is a larger one. Big corporations let me down on a daily basis. Either the connection isn't working or the power's down or the repairman doesn't know what he's doing or doesn't show up when he says he will etc. etc. etc. And trying to get through the robotic answering programs, which are obviously designed to discourage any real contact with a real human, is so frustrating I would guess most of us give up in disappointment (my attempt to get Verizon recently to reduce a long distance bill because somehow I had "chosen" a plan that would make me pay over ten times as much as any other plan (and this was explained to me and I chose it why?). Etc. etc. endlessly etc.
The rightwingers would have us believe, and this began under Reagan mostly but was intensified and became more widespread under the last administration, that the only good government is one that doesn't exist, or only exists to raise a military and use it to defend, well, basically, the corporate interests and the maintenance of rightwing power which they identify as "the national interest" or "national security."
To bolster their argument, they're always accusing federal agencies of being unproductive or basically failures and corporations, the bigger the better, as the answer to all our prayers. But here's the deal. I get my mail every day, pretty much around the same time. Sometimes there's errors (there wasn't any by the way back when the Post Office was actually a federal agency and not a semi-public agency as it is now and became under a Republican administration) but they're usually pretty easily corrected. Yeas, there's lines sometimes at the Post Office, but there's lines sometimes at the place where I go to use Fed Express.
I get checks from the government every month as well, and they've so far always come on time and been correct. Just like my unions have always functioned well when it comes to getting checks for my work etc. But every time I have to deal with a large corporation, I find myself getting the run around, or becoming so frustrated with the run around I want to just give up in despair (or go join a group to get the corporation regulated and create more competition etc.).
When I had to deal with Social Security, I called and got a human being, who not only was congenial and informative, but who pointed out the best ways I could maximize my Social Security earnings when it came time, asking me if I was a veteran or had any minor children etc. When I went to see this woman in a Social Security office that is in the middle of what they used to call "the ghetto" in Newark, and was the only person there who might be considered "white" by those that use that term and actually believe there's some kind of "white race" as opposed to a "black" one etc., I found quick service and once again this woman was kind and helpful and actually made the whole process easy. Something that has never, never, can I say that again, never happened when I'm dealing with a large corporation. oh, and by the way, this woman was not only what classifiers call "black" she was a Muslim with her head wrapped etc.
The only problems I've had with government agencies, be they the Veterans Administration, Social Security, or others, has been when underfunding (the Veterans Administration under recent Republican administrations) led to not enough workers to handle volume etc. An excuse the big corporations use all the time ("We are busy with other customers and will get to you when we can" or "in approximately fifteen minutes" etc.).
The basic truth that the right ignores and sometimes those on the left as well, is that we're all human and any corporation or government agency is going to involve human error and human frailty. What the difference is is easy, the corporations main goal is profit, as much as possible as quickly as possible (used to include customer satisfaction when the financial rewards were more limited and CEOs made only ten times as much as a worker as opposed to a hundred times or a thousands times as much) whereas the government agency's goal is to serve the public in whatever capacity the agency has been formed to carry out.
I prefer my chances with someone attracted to public service than someone attracted to self enrichment at the expense of the rest of us.