Thursday, December 30, 2010

What about so-called Public Goods? part 2

From the LA Times (and thanks to EPJ, where I first saw the story):

EPJ story:,0,7549295,full.story

"One more good reason to drive safely in California: If you cause an accident, you may be on the hook to pay the police and firefighters who show up to help."

Is this an effort toward privatization in California? California, of all states? What wonderful news!

"If insurers don't pay, cities can hire collection agents to seek payment from the motorists involved."

Yes, the ones responsible will be the ones to pay the bill. What a great libertarian solution. And in California, no less.

"Sacramento, with nearly half a million residents, soon could be the largest city in California to do so."

Wait a minute. It is the cities that will charge the fee? This isn't privatization. But, at least it is a user pays system! I guess we shouldn't complain about even the smallest victory.

"'To me, it's an outrage. We're already paying these people — the police department, the fire department, the emergency vehicle drivers — handsome salaries and benefits,' said Lew Uhler, president of the National Tax Limitation Committee. 'Either we stop this kind of nonsense or we should quit paying taxes for these kind of services.'"

Whoa! Paying taxes AND paying a user fee? This can't be right. This must be some kind of joke. Yes? No?

"Local taxpayers shouldn't have to pay for accidents they had no part in creating, said Costa Mesa Fire Battalion Chief Bill Kershaw."

Well, yes. So are the taxes going down to represent the amounts previously paid for such clean-up? It appears not.

It is something to see the cities themselves have discovered the private enterprise business model for such services. But the hapless taxpayer is now paying twice - once for the service, and again for...the service?

Why not a private solution - fee for service. The model is right here. The cost could be included in the insurance premium. Of course, taxes should be reduced as these services are no longer provided by the city.

But that isn't the objective. The only goal is to get more loot. There is no goal to shrink government. But, the cities themselves have shown a possible route to that end.

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