Sunday, December 31, 2006

Journal Times Socialist Manifesto

Don't bother reading the JT's commentary today. I will summarize it for you.

If you want something, the government should provide it for you.
Beware of the private sector.


Brenda said...

The JT Editorial asked if we "had seen service improvements in our phone company" and I would have to say yes.

Once the Ma Bell companies were disbanded, other communication companies started vying for customers. The result - lower prices and increased product offerings.

Competition needs to be a part of our daily lives - in retail, education and even some parts of government.

Obviously, the Fire and Police Departments cannot and should not be outsourced - but there are other areas of government that can be outsourced. Waste management and clerical are two areas that come to mind immediately.

Does the city of Racine need to pay the sanitation workers the relatively large salary and benefit packages.

Many of the villages surrounding the city of Racine already outsource - my garbage is still picked up weekly. I am not suffering by having mountains of garbage stacked curbside.

I know we all do need to pay taxes, we need have a militiary, police and fire protection but I'm pretty sure we can pare down the costs of government by cutting back in other areas.

Denis Navratil said...

It is interesting that the JT picked phone service as a means to warn of the private sector. Deregulation of the phones has led to lower prices, as you mentioned. With cell phones and internet phone connections, it just keeps getting cheaper. Now contrast that service with RUSD. It takes a willful ignorance to believe that government can provide services better than the private sector. You are right about military and police. However, there are many volunteer fire departments out there.

eric said...

I thought the editorial seemed to be saying or inferring:

1) Don't count on the private sector to be more effcient just because the government has a reputation for being inefficient. I found the phone company analogy kind of odd too. I was happy with the original AT&T, experienced service problems and increased prices when it was first broken up, but adjusting for inflation, today's prices are lower and there's a variety of more products and services available. The difficulty is that local phone and cable companies own "the pipes" that deliver signals to homes and businesses enabling them to discourage competition. It is this aspect where government has had a role in forcing the local companues to allow access to competition. But government also seems to tack on a variety of taxes and fees to my phone and cable bills. As an aside, I find myself feeling comfortable with Micro Soft just like used to feel with the original AT&T - but I'm told web based technology rather the government is about to be MicroSoft's undoing. Sorry to ramble here, but it's hard to imagine how greater government involvement would have improved the phone service saga.

2) The notion that government and private sector are best suited to different roles. Fair enough, but let's stipulate that the boundaries between the two do shift. For instance, given e-mail technolgy and all the various delivery/courier comapanies, the US postal service may not be required much longer. We have a private (foreign) firm running IL tollways now. Perhaps snow removal could be contracted? How are the charter schools contracted to private companies fairing so far?

3)Getting value for our taxes is what everybody wants. But what motivates representatives to do that if they have unlimited ability to tax and spend?

The JT editorial was a faulty delima between a "no-tax" position or investing in the community with taxes. Communities shoot for a balance - what must the government do, and what can the private sector do - corporate and philanthropic?

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