Like outsourcing? You’ll love government outsourcing.

“The only thing I would ever want outsourced is this hangover.” — Billy Bob Jobob

No one that I know ever said the above, but they could have.

Outsourcing is one of those “lightning” words. It has the tendency to make the hair stand straight up on your neck just before it knocks you flat, but only after it bores a hole in your skull and blows out the souls of your Nikes.

Ask the average Joe on the street what’s the first thing that comes to their minds upon hearing the words “outsourcing,” and they’re liable to say “India” or “Bangalore.”  To many Americans, too many jobs have been outsourced overseas and the fact is only made worse when you end up with a soulless android that puts you on hold for hours and whose most favored word is “no.”

That is my take on outsourcing as well. But there is domestic outsourcing of the type used by governments because we have ended up with leaders who believe “business” is the way to run the world. Today, it is common to hear a candidate for political office boast that they “ran a business” with X number of employees and a budget of $blank, blank, blank per year. They ran a canning plant. Or a foundry. Maybe they ran a small tech firm. So that entitles them to run a government. Right?

Well, let’s see, can  Mr. Can Man run a fire department and an EMS service and a police department and a water department and a parks and street department of the type he will be asked to help run as a city councilman? Does ensuring a furnace operates just right and overseeing operations which include the molding of metals are made without the employees burning themselves to death guarantee  Mr. Foundry Dude can run a school, manage its curriculum, and teachers and football team?  Would building a better hard drive be a prerequisite for Techo Geek to ensure his congressional constituents get their VA or Social Security check or that he or she could know what is best for the nation’s financial and military establishments? All of these are pretty obvious.

Government and governing that government is a whole different ballgame.

Therefore, it would stand to reason that just because someone is a “bidnessman” does not automatically qualify a man or woman to properly lead, in some form or fashion, a government.

And likewise just because someone has a successful chain of travel agencies wouldn’t specifically make it the best fit for helping a government agency or agencies in assessing and managing their travel needs. But that old outsource bug has already bitten some of our governments long ago. Going on an official trip for a federal agency? You have to use the specified company and their computer software or Web site. Doesn’t corporate solutions make things run smoother, faster and less expensive? Not always. Perhaps not at all.

Some agencies also outsource certain functions, such as payroll, to other federal departments. That isn’t particularly bad although if you need something or a want a question answered the solution may not be just around the corner.

The general public, including public workers, think grueling waits and frustration in dealing with a government agency stinks. It’s called “bureaucracy.” Okay, just imagine that not going anywhere bureaucracy when you are forced to deal with someone from a private company call center with people who know nothing outside the piece of paper over which the two of you discuss?

Fortunately, I haven’t had to deal with this bunch in a few years but I once had to fight my way through what I think is called the Debt Management Center of the Department of Veterans Affairs. I had owed some back bills and the money was taken without my knowledge from federal checks. These were among the most confounding phone people with whom I have ever dealt. These people told me, true or not I am not sure, that they were not allowed to communicate with the personnel at the VA hospitals which I supposedly owed. Does that sound like a shining path to financial solvency or what?

There are other problems beside inefficiency and bad manners that make outsourcing not always the best source for the government or for those whom it serve.  A study by the Economic Policy Institute, a think-tank that focuses on money issues for middle- and low-income Americans, found federally-contracted jobs leave 1-in-5 of its workers in poverty.

“Much of the savings from outsourcing federal projects to private companies doesn’t come from greater efficiency, but rather lower wages and benefits,” said Kathryn Edwards, co-author of EPI’s “Outsourcing Poverty.”

No doubt the business-minded, business-lovin’, business-kissin’, business-fornicating, Republican majority in Congress will continue every effort at their disposal to outsource what federal government they can’t destroy. You think bureaucracy is bad now? Outsourcing will only make it worse.