What are some public functions that might benefit from more competition, including competition from private firms?
There are several public functions that might benefit from competition. One such example is our system of roads. If the construction and the maintenance of roads was turned over to private companies, it is possible these companies could do the work more efficiently. Another example is education. Some people believe that privatizing education would force the public schools to rethink the ways they do things. The charter school movement, which is free from many union rules and regulations, is very popular in some circles. These people believe that if there was competition in the educational sector, the public school systems would improve.
Some cities continue to provide for garbage and recycling collection. Other cities have turned these services over to private firms because they have been able to do these jobs for a lower cost. The same is true for public transit. Some cities have found that private companies are able to provide the service more efficiently.
There is a healthy debate about privatizing our postal service. Our postal service loses a lot of money and continues to ask for rate increases. If the postal service was turned over to a private company, it would be freed from rules that Congress has established regarding the operation of the postal service. This might allow the postal service to become more profitable and efficient.
The answer to this depends to a large degree on a person's political ideology. Conservatives tend to argue that most public functions could benefit from competition while liberals take the other position. For example, conservatives tend to be strongly in favor of charter schools while liberals prefer that regular public schools should not have to compete for funding.
Another public function that might benefit from more competition is prisons. States spend huge amounts of money on prisons. It is possible that allowing private companies to compete to run prisons would result in lower costs for the government.
Finally, conservatives would argue that health care is an area where more competition is needed. They would argue that changing laws to make it possible for more insurance companies to compete for customers would lead to greater efficiency. Liberals, by contrast, often argue for a single-payer, government program for health care.
Thus, education, prisons, and health care are functions that, to some people, would benefit from greater competition.