But who will build the websites?


Mention the possibility of doing away with government and the cries go out — but who will build the roads? My reply from now on will be, “Have you seen them try and build a website?”

healthcaregovObama’s healthcare.gov site is approaching 600 Million dollars and it still doesn’t work. If there was any doubt that government is inefficient, there can be no denying it now.

Digital Trends has a great article entitled “We paid over $500 million for the Obamacare sites and all we got was this lousy 404” which  hightlights what a mess the Obamcare website has been. Here are some excerpts…

“It’s been one full week since the flagship technology portion of the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) went live. And since that time, the befuddled beast that is Healthcare.gov has shutdown, crapped out, stalled, and mis-loaded so consistently that its track record for failure is challenged only by Congress.”

“The reason for this nationwide headache apparently stems from poorly written code, which buckled under the heavy influx of traffic that its engineers and administrators should have seen coming. But the fact that Healthcare.gov can’t do the one job it was built to do isn’t the most infuriating part of this debacle – it’s that we, the taxpayers, seem to have forked up more than $500 million of the federal purse to build the digital equivalent of a rock.”

“Given the complicated nature of federal contracts, it’s difficult to make a direct comparison between the cost to develop Healthcare.gov and the amount of money spent building private online businesses. But for the sake of putting the monstrous amount of money into perspective, here are a few figures to chew on: Facebook, which received its first investment in June 2004, operated for a full six years before surpassing the $500 million mark in June 2010. Twitter, created in 2006, managed to get by with only $360.17 million in total funding until a $400 million boost in 2011. Instagram ginned up just $57.5 million in funding before Facebook bought it for (a staggering) $1 billion last year. And LinkedIn and Spotify, meanwhile, have only raised, respectively, $200 million and $288 million.”

Read the full article here.

With insight like that, maybe it’s time we take another look at who should build the roads.

Lincoln-Highway-United-States-Map-1[1]Lincoln Highway was initiated in 1912. Carl Fisher, father of the Indianapolis 500, envisioned a well-paved, reliable cross-country road to avoid urban congestion, encourage travel, promote the automobile industry, and build up the rural communities along the way. His idea was so popular and necessary, that droves of private citizens, fed up with muddy backcountry roads, paid $5 each to become members of the highway organization that Fisher founded with Frank Seiberling of Goodyear and Henry Joy of the Packard Motor Car Company. Local communities, in exchange for providing labor, received free road-building materials from the organization and, more important, a significant boost to local commerce. Automobile manufacturers saw the highway plan as an essential foundation for the growth of their industry and volunteered substantial funds.

Despite its lack of federal support, the highway plan was anything but uncoordinated. As a 1916 guidebook touted, the Lincoln Highway cut the time needed for cross-country travel by two-thirds and reduced the cost to an affordable $5 a day. Even when lack of funds threatened the future of the road, the association worked with local governments to build sections of the highway to connect with the “seedling miles” of concrete road built in strategic locations by the association.

The federal government realized too late the importance of what the Lincoln Highway Association was the first to promote, and by 1921 it was anxious to catch up. The private initiative symbolized by the highway association was crowded out by the Federal Highway Act.


In modern times, private contractors are much better than government at getting construction done on time and on budget. A 2002 government study in the United Kingdom, where public-private transactions are more common, found that 70 percent of public construction undertaken by the government ran late and that 73 percent of it finished over budget. But when government contracted projects to private firms, just 24 percent of them were late and only 20 percent were over budget. There’s no mystery here, since private contractors can’t start collecting revenues until properties are up and running.”

The Free Market: “Private Roads” by Eric Peters, February 1996


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