It's a sad day when the economics department is teaching it's graduate students to draw lazy, obtuse conclusions instead of conducting rigorous research. Garth Huetel's column ("Learning from failed privatization," March 20) seems to pull its ideas from a couple front-page stories and Google searches instead of doing what should be second-nature to a student of economics: following the money.
If he'd dug a little deeper, he'd have discovered that the Accenture deal tanked not because of "political zealotry," but because of a hopelessly flawed bidding process where Accenture was hand-picked over vastly more qualified competitors. He'd have found a web of cronyism that revealed that the authors of HB 2292, Gregg Phillips and Chris Britton, were subsequently hired by Accenture to win the contract for work mandated by a bill that they helped write. And that former Gov. Rick Perry staffer Ray Sullivan and some former Gov. George W. Bush staffers also found work with Accenture. And that Accenture had a long, embarrassing track record working with government agencies spanning almost a decade in Nebraska, Virginia, Ohio, New Brunswick, New York, Ontario and other places, where they engaged in a pattern of cost overruns and poor service, prompting the Nebraska treasurer to say that dealing with Accenture was like "pouring money down a deep, dark hole."
Unfortunately, the bidding process at HHSC and other state agencies, with their governor-appointed directors/cronies, is just like that deep, dark hole. If you really want to explore why privatization fails in Texas, start talking about transparency.
March 20, 2007
Bored stiff? Loosen up...
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