Many advocates of small government have many ideas for how to move activities out of the public sector and into the private sector. Social Security can be privatized, using fully-funded private retirement investment accounts. Education can be privatized, with vouchers that can be used by parents to choose the best private school or charter school. All could save money for the federal budget, by taking advantage of the more efficient operations of the private sector.
In this blog, I’ll describe my new idea for privatization. Why not privatize the military! Many rich Republicans want more military spending, and I can imagine that they might well be willing to pay for it. Why not let them? Now, they are probably not willing to simply donate money to the federal government, with no recognition, nor any private return on their investment. But, we could provide the same kind of naming rights as many private operations: FedEx Field is the home of the Washington Redskins, because FedEx paid for the naming rights and they get PR advantages of doing so. The name of the business school at the University of Texas is the “McCombs School of business”, because Red McCombs paid for the naming rights, and he gets PR advantages of doing so. The J. Paul Getty Museum is the name of a major art museum in Los Angeles, presumably because somebody in the Getty family or foundation paid for the naming rights and gets PR advantages of doing so.
So, the idea is to write the name of any major donor on any piece of military equipment for which that donor covers at least half the cost. Pay for half a tank, and it will be the “Your Name Here” Army Battle Tank, with the name engraved on the equipment. You can even visit it, at certain times of year under certain conditions, and have your picture taken with it. If you are willing to pay a little more, half the cost of a cruise missile, you can have your name on that instead.
Now I’m not suggesting that the donor ought to be allowed to decide when to push the button. Nor even make any decisions at all. The payment is just to help out the U.S. Federal Budget deficit, with recognition for doing so. I’d bet that a good number of millionaires would really be willing to pay, for that kind of prestige. It might even be greater recognition if the missile were actually used! The well-heeled U.S. businessman might even get more U.S. business activity, after the newspaper announces that the “Your Name Here” cruise missile was launched at Tehran, killing 137 innocent civilians, but successfully deterring the Iranian government from pursuing a nuclear weapon that might kill even more.