Get to know a state shutdown

Gov. Mark Dayton today vetoed all of the budget bills the Legislature sent to him and the game of “chicken” is on in earnest. The state needs a budget by July 1, or it will have to shut down for the second time in its history.

“It’s too early to worry about that,” some experts say. But that’s the same thing they said in April when the Minnesota Twins came out of Florida and promptly fell on their faces. Moral? It’s never too early to expect the worst, especially when Republicans and Democrats are as far apart on the basic expectations of government as they currently are.

Remember, too, that last January, one House committee was already hearing about government shutdowns. It wasn’t too early then, either.

What can we expect in a state government shutdown? Let 2005 be our guide.

1) Forget about saving any money.

Government shutdowns don’t save the government money. On the contrary, they’re pricey. For example, after 10 days, state workers are eligible for layoff pay. Many will burn vacation time to keep a paycheck coming in, but even then they don’t see the cash right away. They won’t actually get it until the budget is passed. But it will cost the state about $2 million a day. And the cost of preparing for a shutdown is considerable, even if the state doesn’t go toes up. In 2001, it cost $2.7 million, even though the state didn’t shut down.

State workers often need that second paycheck in July to make the mortgage payment. Many will not be able to make it.

2) Schedule a driver’s license exam now.

Put driver’s ed on the fast track. The driver’s license testing stations will likely close right away. Licenses and tabs could probably still be renewed.

3) Closed rest areas

This won’t be that big of a deal, although you can count on seeing lots of visuals on TV and newspapers. There are only a few dozen rest areas in Minnesota anyway and, besides, truck stops and convenience stores are all located off major highways and they have restrooms.

4) Plan your vacation somewhere else.

State Parks will close. But because the July 4th weekend is so important in Minnesota, the Legislature would likely pass a natural resources budget first. Still, you’ll have to decide whether it’s worth the gamble. Wisconsin is lovely at this time of the year.

5) Transportation

MnDOT (the Department of Transportation) would likely be the hardest hit. Construction projects might shut down. Potholes won’t be filled. If there are hazards on a highway that couldn’t be removed, the roads would be closed. Roadsides won’t be mowed. The traffic cameras would be shut down. The Highway Helpers will disappear.

About three or four thousand MnDOT employees would likely be furloughed.

6) Battered women and children endangered?:

Some battered women and children shelters could close after several days. State grants which fund them wouldn’t be authorized. A judge would likely determine whether some services are “essential,” and would need to be funded.

7) What’s essential?

In 2005, the state deemed these functions to be “essential” and, thus, funded:

• Medical care of inpatients and emergency outpatient care;

• Activities essential to ensure continued public health and safety, including safe use of

food, drugs, and hazardous materials;

• Continuance of transportation safety functions and the protection of transport property;

• Protection of lands, buildings, waterways, equipment and other property owned by the

government;

• Care of prisoners and other persons in the custody of the government;

• Law enforcement and criminal investigations;

• Emergency and disaster assistance;

• Activities that ensure the production of power and the maintenance of the power

distribution system;

• Activities essential to the preservation of the essential elements of the financial system of the government, including the borrowing and tax collection activities of the government;

• Activities necessary to maintain protection of research property.

Here are some of the appropriations the court master made during the shutdown of 2005. And here.

It’s possible that the Legislature could pass a “light’s on” bill in a special session, continuing funding at current levels. But that’s more likely if a broader framework for an agreement on budget issues has been reached or is at hand. Passing a “light’s on” bill, however, takes the pressure off reaching deals. There isn’t a lot that politicians at the Capitol agree on, but “light’s on” is usually one of them. They hate “light on” bills.

  • Kassie

    The only good thing about this whole thing is that July is a 3 paycheck month for State Employees, meaning that if I miss out on a full paycheck on July 15, I’ll get one July 29th and had gotten one on July 1. But that assumes the shutdown is 2 weeks or less.

    It is a tough time for State Employees. We have lots of questions and not a lot of answers.

  • matt

    Funny, everyone of the essential activities could be provided by society without any need for the govt. It would be much better if they would commit to a long term shutdown so that those who want these things provided at a hugely inflated price could explore the real estate and job market in Iowa or elsewhere, and those of us who simply want to live our lives and care for our fellow man could proceed. Don’t rush on my account St. Paul.

  • Anonymous

    State employee here. Not planning to use vacation time on this, if it even happens. When budget is approved, it covers July 1st forward, even if it’s signed on July 31st. In addition to possible UI benefits, I’ve heard rumblings that unions may sue for our backpay. After all, it isn’t our fault that the government is shutdown. If the governor and GOP legislature are truly concerned about the good of our state and not wasting taxpayer money, they’ll get this done before July 1.

  • Snyder

    Um, matt – can you explain who out of “society” would provide law enforcement and criminal investigations or emergency and disaster assistance and how those would be paid for if not by government? Sheesh…

  • Kassie

    Matt, what do you think government is other than society coming together to provide services? Do you mean private corporations should provide the essential services? Because that is not what you said.

  • Mari

    3 paychecks in a month? Some of us don’t get 1. Do you have any idea what people think of you?

  • Bob Collins

    I don’t understand. Why would you think ill of someone because they have a job?

    As for three paychecks in a month, EVERYONE who gets paid every two weeks has two months in the year in which they get three paychecks.

  • MR

    Mari: State employees are paid every second Friday, regardless of how many Fridays fall in a month. As there are 52 weeks in a year, that means 26 paychecks, which means two months have 3 paychecks. It’s not like being paid 3 times in a month means that state employees make any more in total salary, it’s just how annual salary happens to be divided.

    One addition to point #1: The state gets a pile of money from the feds to do any number of things (including paying the salary of the people who do those things). If the state shuts down, the feds want the money back for that time. This leaves the state on the hook for paying back the feds and for paying employee salaries that they normally don’t have to pay.

  • matt

    Snyder,

    The easy way of answering your question is to turn it back on you – Why does govt have to provide law enforcement, criminal investigation, or disaster relief? I’ll go beyond that and stroll into Kassie’s question as well. Right now insurance companies provide far more disaster relief than the state or fed govt do so now we are just talking about increasing their role not reinventing the wheel. Law enforcement and criminal investigation are already paid for directly by a great many people through private security services so we know that it can be done without the magic of being state provided.

    The quick retort is that the poor and powerless are left unprotected but that assumes that all of us who pay taxes now to provide for them only do so out of compulsion. If that is not true of you why assume it is true of anyone else? Nothing that the state does now is a service that was invented by or exclusive to the state. Children were fed, widows cared for and miscreants dealt with throughout history with much less involvment from the state. The Shriners, Sertoma, MDA, Eagles, churches and thousands of other organizations still are active in these very same endeavours. The state is horribly inefficient in its efforts – monetarily they get $1 out $3 in the hands of those they seek to help, the rest is eaten up in bureaucracy. Additionaly they will only reach out to solve a problem that gains enough votes from legislators to be deemed a real problem – good luck if your malady is not special enough. Then even if society deems that need to be met or funding decreased the reverse course is even harder. So we spend millions on imprisoning potheads who nobody worries about anymore or funding poor farmers with ethanol subsidies and ignore the problems that everyone really talks about at their kitchen table (k-12 education). If Matt, Snyder and Kassie are all writing their own checks and can put those assets to work solving the problems we want to solve we would first ensure we are not lining the pockets of plutocrats and opportunists and second we would use our judgment to solve the most important problems. Govt is the antithesis of this process.

    Kassie,

    As a state employee I can’t imagine that you haven’t ever thought – “if it weren’t for rule X and procedure y I could really achieve the mission I am trying to accomplish” or better yet “with more resources I gould get past this tipping point and make things better for Minnesota”. It is your employer that is holding you back not the people of Minnesota.

  • Kassie

    Mari, do you have any idea what people think of you? What kind of statement is that anyhow?

    And yes, I’m quite aware of what Republicans and tea partiers feel about me since that can’t stop letting everyone know how lazy and wasteful I am. How I have so many benefits, like a pension that will be defunct by the time I can retire. And I make soooo much money. So much money in fact, I’d make $20k more doing my exact job in the private sector.

    I think what most people are is jealous that I’m lucky enough to have passion for what I do for a job. No one grows up saying “I want to be an insurance adjuster or I want to be home loan officers.” But people do say “I want to help people” and “I want to make things better” and that is what I get to do every day. That is, everyday until the politicians decide I can’t come to work because of their stupid fighting.

  • Bob Collins

    //disaster relief than the state or fed govt do so now we are just talking about increasing their role not reinventing the wheel

    They’re different wheels. Federal disaster relief is aimed primarily at infrastructure. Insurance companies deal with their clients. Disaster relief also kicks in low-interest loans to businesses and individuals to recover. It also provides security and reimbursement to cities and municipalities for the additional cost of public safety.

    It’s not correct to pit the discussion as insurance companies vs. federal disaster assistance. They have two VERY different functions in times of emergency and they are both, frankly, very good at what they do.

    The entire “everything in government is great” vs “everything in government is rotten” is a pretty shallow and uninteresting debate actually. It’s the stuff talk radio is made of, but not much more. Things aren’t that simple.

    In matters of public health, for example, government has some great victories. “Team Diarrhea” comes immediately to mind. Many advances in research come at public universities. This very mode of communication we’re enjoying — we are enjoying this, are we not? — comes from a public institution. It could come from a private one, too, but the locals got it first.

    As a pilot, I know that flight service stations were turned over to Lockheed a few months ago and I don’t know any pilots anymore who bother calling one for a weather briefing. It takes too long to get help.

    At the same time, however, there are advances that are doable only via private route. The space program is 1960s technology while the private space program has figured out how to re-enter the atmosphere making a ship act like a feather. Why? For one thing because it’s not controlled by politicians who have to have a piece of the program action in their state.

    So I would urge everyone to step back for a minute and really think about practical solutions for both government and non-government entities and try to avoid the broad brush. We get nowhere that way. The issue is too complex.

  • Momkat`

    Yes, Matt, I too wondered how we would get billed for all those services that you think should be privatized? All roads would be toll roads or ???

  • matt

    Bob,

    On disaster relief you have not made any real distinction in the action just the objects. How is insuring a road different from insuring a house? How is providing a low interest loan to a disaster victim different than making a low interest loan to a college student?

    You then create a straw man with your great vs rotten debate, there is great social value in almost every activity that the govt is involved in, my point is that govt is horribly inefficient at providing those activities.

    Yes, many things have come out of the public sector and we are grateful for those advances – but again why insist that if govt does not fund research it won’t get funded? If you and I both value scientific research why would we stop funding it simply because the money is taken from our paycheck?

    As for the Lockheed situation I am unfamiliar with that specifically – did the govt choose one vendor to turn operations over to? If so we have not really privatized only subcontracted correct? If weather reports are of value and Lockheed is doing a miserable job are pilots free to seek another source? Would Bob Collins Inc. provide those services better than Lockheed? If so Bob Collins Inc. would gain market share until Lockheed began improving its service. On a smaller scale we used to all rely on our local TV stations for weather forecasts and they were horrible. Stations saw that there was value in providing better service and started adding doppler and other advancements to gain viewership (yes I know doppler started out as a govt project – see above) this free good is now provided in greater quantity and quality. Nobody ever wrote a check to KSTP for weather forecasts but is a service that we cannot do without.

    You may find my argument shallow and uninteresting but you brought up the govt shutdown, I simply added that I feel it is a step in the right direction. There is no magic in govt that makes it unique other than its monopoly on violence. To accept that the only way that we humans can coexist and thrive is through violent coercion vs the notion that our cooperative nature can be extended to all spheres to me is highly interesting and can only be viewed as shallow by the least thoughtful people. It clearly is not something that can happen overnight our social structure needs to be rebuilt but this provides us with a wonderful opportunity to see that there is another way.

    Momkat,

    Yes, tollroads would be one approach for highways for urban/suburban roads a common ownership method would work with maintenance dues. If you consider a new development (I know this is sooo 2006) the developer actually builds all of that infrastructure, allocates those costs to the lots, and then the infrastructure is turned over to the municipality. So again we are already paying for these things, nothing becomes free for us we just cut out a cumbersome middleman.

  • Bob Collins

    //How is insuring a road different from insuring a house?

    There’s nothing to prevent anyone from insuring a road. Let’s assume, for example, that you’d like to insure Highway 169. What is it you want to insure it against? And what are the options you want if you fall on the wrong side of the risk assessment?

    Your point is well taken in regard to disaster relief. Take “flooding” disaster relief in Brown County a few years ago. The package the Legislature pushed through, as I recall, included money to replace a fish house in Rainy Lake or somewhere like that. What is the compelling public interest in paying for a fish house? At the same hearing, a (Republican) lawmaker started crying because her request for a sound wall on I-94 through her territory was denied. Never mind that the flood or tornado didn’t wipe out an existing sound wall, it was a route to pay for something she wanted. That, however, is a weakness in the political process rather than the fault of state workers, unless the argument is if we get rid of stateworkers, then politicians won’t be so quick to spend money (and I assume once you peel away things, that’s the argument).

    //You then create a straw man with your great vs rotten debate, there is great social value in almost every activity that the govt is involved in,

    You see the irony in that statement, right?

    //Nobody ever wrote a check to KSTP for weather forecasts but is a service that we cannot do without.

    But, see, one of the problems of your argument is that it lacks proper data. Take any private weather forecasting service and trace back the source of their data. Let me know what you find.

    The private firms are really good at developing tools to analyze and explain data. They’re not particularly good at obtaining the data firsthand.

    I think you probably aren’t a pilot so you lack knowledge of the role of flight service stations and what they do. They are not the developers of the data; their role is simply to interpret data and — most important — link the data to the user. Lockheed’s point of failure is at the end of that chain; the one area where private business has a particular expertise; just not in this case.

    Like I said, the entire is picture is far more complex than stump speech logic suggests and requires proper attention to detail.

  • John O.

    For most of us in the real world, we do not have five months to wrangle over how to balance the household budget. Nor do we get a paycheck and per diem for wrangling, all the while being waited on hand-and-foot by supporters and lobbyists.

    A compromise will be necessary to get the job done. Before July 1.

  • matt

    Bob,

    You dismiss my argument because it is all too complex for me to understand. The basic concept that the govt accomplishes all that it does by using resources that are all just as available without govt is quite simple. Please explain the complexity that “only the govt can provide x”. It simply fails unless it is a good that would not be widely accepted in the first place (taxpayer funded stadiums, one man one woman exlusive contracts, many others).

    Yes I realize that govt funding provides basic weather data but that is not a defense of why that data has to come from the govt. The fact that local television stations will spend millions for advanced equipment to pick up where the National Weather Service and NOAA leave off is a defense of the market providing. Please complete the thought exercise.

    You are right that I am not an aviator but my premise does not fail based on that, nor does your premise succeed based on having experience there. Again if there is value in the collecting of data first hand that activity would not stop just because govt was not involved. But expanded outside of aviation we can see where the market amasses and analyzes huge amounts of data. Prices (stock prices, food prices, all prices) represent hugely important data that are used to evaluate most of our individual choices. The data is highly reliable and validated each day. The data can be highly technical or simple and intuitive but we process it all without a special govt agency. Our biggest problems is when govt sends mixed signals either on the data or clouds the outcomes of economic choices with subsidies or penalties.

    I’ll take the depth of my stump speech logic over the premise that “the state has to…well they just have to” anyday. Give me one example, just one, where a service provided by the state of minnesota could not be provided by the public sector.

    So then we are down to preference, I fully understand that some people want some/many services to be provided by the state. They fear to little of a good or service would be provided. A very valid preference, anarchy is not Utopia anymore than a state is. I am willing to trade the pitfalls of anarchy or minarchy over the pitfalls of the current state. My evaluation of what the private sector has provided and wrought and what the state has provided and wrought tip the scales to removing the state.

    I respect your commentary and insight that you show here but suspect that a lifetime of indoctrination as to the good of the state makes it easy for you to accept things at face value. Question the state my friend, pull back the curtain.

  • Bob Collins

    // You dismiss my argument because it is all too complex for me to understand.

    Oh, not at all. I believe you’re entirely capable of understanding it.

  • jtb

    I would like to address matt’s commentary not directly to matt (judging by matt’s commentary, his mind is already made up) but the rest of the readers reading this post and taking some of the arguments as end all be all that government is just in the way of the private sector of being a better alternative to a more efficient use of our money for the services the public sector provides. The biggest argument that matt is excluding out of his comments is that the private sector’s efficiency is driven by the actual almighty coin. Not the point of how much can be saved in efficiency, but the point of where it comes from and how it is collected and most importantly where it is dispersed. Yes, matt is correct that the private sector can do ever service the public sector can do. The public sectors services are no great secret and/or great complexity in the task at hand of providing the service. Matt’s greatest fault in argument is that the public sector provides a continuous and non-discriminatory service to everyone, which the private sector does not. The private sector is primarily driven by the for-profit service. If a service or a person does not turn a buck in their allotted time of profit return, they will drop that service, period.

    Case in point, matt wants to build a development 5 miles away from any well populated area in Minnesota. Fine that is right to buy land and build wherever matt chooses, but how is he getting there? Is the private sector going to build a road network of 5 miles for a development of, for arguments sake, 50 house units? Who will put together the upfront money and pay for the infrastructure leading to the development? Is matt because it is matt’s development? matt’s development does not own that land which the roads would be constructed on, so should the owner’s of the land build the road to the development? Would a private entity just front the money? Then there are the right of driving on those roads to get to matt’s development. What kind of agreement (right-of-way) can be written and to what body would adhere the right of passage to allow constant access to matt’s development? Finally, there is the maintenance and upkeep of the infrastructure and in 20-50 year overhaul of the roads to the development? Do 50 customers produce enough revenue through tolls for the private entity to keep that upkeep going? What if the development produces only 30 occupied units, now do those 30 units pay for all the upkeep? What if the private entity goes bankrupt? Now what? Does an association take over? Is it an elected body? Is that not government?

    I think this is a lot more complex than the simple argument that the private sector can do all that the public sector does plus more efficient. The case above is just scratching the surface of the complications of developments (i.e. residential, commercial, industrial) much less the complexity of the whole of government services. Although I see matt is very articulate in his language and persuasiveness; I frankly see this argument itself as simplistic, lazy, and very misleading.

  • matt

    jtb,

    Yes, you are correct the developer would provide the road to get to the development either buy buying the necessary land and developing it and with a profit to boot. First I suspect that we both agree that in the planned economy the road is viewed as a needed good and is built on that basis. So we know we all pay for roads just indirectly – the problem is that we also pay for speculative roads that govt builds, we subsidize road costs for well off suburbanites and the lack of a profit motive on the road owners behalf (the state) leads to less efficiency in the road construction process. All of this waste easily makes room for a profit to be made on a road.

    Condo associations, lake associations, gated communities, trailer parks, business co-ops, shopping malls, apartment complexes and many others have been doing all this for decades. Certainly some fail, but we know that cities fail as well. Are these governments? – well no, as they cannot initiate force against one another like the govt can. They are limited to contracual remedies. If a road owner goes defunct the road is liquidated and a new owner takes over.

    Again to clarify those 50 homeowners are paying taxes to keep those roads maintained and rebuilt now it is just indirect and if you look closely at the policies that we have they are usually getting a subsidy at the expense of lower income/inner city residents. To claim that is non-discriminatory is a non-starter.

    You might find my argument simplistic, lazy and misleading but since I can point out real world examples that easily refute your counter-point I suggest your argument is, at best, only equal to mine.

  • Shannon

    I’m quite enjoying the debate with matt, jtb, and Bob. As I was reading about the state’s budget issues, political deadlock, and special interests creeping into unrelated bills (including, for instance, legislators weeping so they can put in a sound wall on 94), I started thinking about the actual structure of the government.

    Minnesota, like every state other than Nebraska, has a bicameral legislature. Now I realize the Representatives might not be keen on this, but what if Minnesota considered going unicameral? Of course, issues of representation come to the fore with this, but say it could be created in a way that districts were the right size to insure people would get good representation, would it be feasible? Tim Pawlenty and others who are, in fact, state workers themselves have blamed state workers for a lot of budget issues, what if we made the structural change to eliminate a large group of people who have incredible benefits and salaries without having to cut teachers?

    It was just a thought – perhaps people out there know why a unicameral legislature would not work in Minnesota, and could share that information here.

  • matt

    Shannon,

    from your mouth to Jesse Ventura’s ears! It would be a good step.

  • B

    Bob, I want to thank you for your comments on this thread. It is clear that you aim to uncover the true facts about a topic, without falling back on rhetoric or idealism. I wish there were more people like you posting on the internet. I am so tired of the “scream machines” from all facets of our political spectrum, the ones who yell and try to shove their illogical and often simplistic propaganda down everyone else’s throats. It seems that politics these days is more about competing to see who can “win” an argument based on rhetoric and volume, instead of true factual analysis. You are a breath of fresh air and I have learned some great points from your posts in this thread. Thank you.

  • T

    Matt,

    Can you give any examples of a large society thriving with your ideology (say 5 million people)?

  • matt

    T,

    No I cannot. Anarchy is an ideal just like communism and religion. It is unlikely that it will ever come about in my lifetime. Some have dreams of seasteading, there is a movement of people that have moved on to New Hampshire to try and get a critical mass of libertarians. I am fine here in Minnesota, living under a state is tolerable. You hate to see lives destroyed because of the right wings social engineering. You hate to see economic malpractice of redistribution and central planning. But the freedom we have here in Minnesota is still greater than most states and certainly most countries. But if I can plant enough seeds of doubt regarding statism I am happy to do that. I am not hoping for a revolution only an awakening. A state shutdown is just a perfect opportunity for people to see that it can be done without govt.

    Gay marriage is another door opener, as we all start to question why the state should tell Bob and Jim that they cannot have a marriage contract we can also point out that the state prevents Bob’s Ford dealership from selling Jim a car on Sunday.

    The social institutions that the state has destroyed over the last 100 years need to be rebuilt before we can even consider a “night watchman” state and that is an incremental game. Libertarians have been losing at a steady clip since the Bush/Obama era began, but hopefully the tide will start turning soon.

  • T

    Thanks Matt for your comment. While I do not agree with your ideology, I now have a better understanding where we can agree on certain aspects of life here in Minnesota. I do not mind paying into our system, but want it extremely proficient and validated when gov’t services are needed. Great examples of what we can agree on also (car sales, marriage bans). We likely agree on farm subsidies, Sunday liquor sales, and maybe others….

  • matt

    Yep, there are a lot of small things that are easy but again I try to swing for the fences when I can. I served on my city council for four years and currently a school board member and I vote on how my constituents want to live. No laying off all the staff but carefully considering whether or not electric service needs to be provided by the city or could we let a private contractor do it. Xcel does great work for many people (yes still protected by govt favortism and over-regulated but a step in my preferred direction) but I got a lot of pushback based on “we need local service”. Minnegasco and the cable companies all provide service without being municipal employees but somehow electric service is “different”.

    Our school district is one of the few that does not have an operating referendum. Certainly this is a great object lesson in how govt fails us by adding mandates while not increasing funding and shifting funding. Doing more and spending less is a universal business strategy but one that govt is incapable of executing. Through monopoly power that the govt has has kept out most competition and so we are stuck with an inferior product for the majority of students. The silver lining is as the district cuts funding in some areas the social network picks up. Sports grow through associations, fund raisers etc. In spite of my disdain for govt I still continue to support an operating referendum for the district – again being a libertarian doesn’t make you against spending money it just makes you want to beat your head against a wall when you see the waste and poor performance and want to change it.

    Thanks to all who have listened and participated in this discussion!

  • Shannon

    matt said: “again being a libertarian doesn’t make you against spending money it just makes you want to beat your head against a wall when you see the waste and poor performance and want to change it.”

    That’s not just being libertarian, that’s being reasonable! ;) reason and pragmatism seem to be falling by the wayside, but then again moderation is rarely as sexy (in terms of getting ratings or blog hits) as fundamentalism.

    Agreed, a great discussion on this one. Nice to see varying points of view being discussed with civility.

  • jtb

    matt,

    Although I will respect your views as a libertarian and especially agree that most social institutions should be open to the individual like gay marriage, but it is way too easy to say let’s just make a wash of government and install a market base form of living style.

    First, I am kind of confused by your assertion of “getting the government out of the way”. Are you talking to disband all government and have a kind of ‘Lord of the Flies’ hierarchy? This means disposing of governing representation and their departments and agencies and replaces it with a market based government?!? I hope not. That is just stupid talk, and I will not even go into what would be wrong with that. Good luck on some Pacific Ocean island.

    If you are talking about disbanding government entities and have the private market take care of their functions is also crazy talk. It is easy now to just say; hey things can become more efficient if you just let the private sector take over especially after the system’s policies and networks (i.e. roads, communications, and procedures) are already in place and established. Any company can then come in and run the”government and its networks” for a number of years before true maintenance costs accrue to upgrade or replace them. Then the company will “go out of business” because of all the neglect it put on the maintenance of the system and cannot make money out of it. Since there is only other private companies (which probably would not purchase due to no investment turn around)to buy the system and no government, people in that development, city, or region will just abandon it and move to some other shiny city while the poor move into the decrepit area. Lovely.

    The biggest problem I have with your argument is that you look are the short term investment and do not look past the tip of your own nose and into the future. Will that company still be around 20 years from now? If not, will there be a buyer? If not, who takes up the maintenance? The residents who have been paying their dues and mortgage to the private company that just went out of business? What if residents move in and 10 years down the road, the company pulls back on services and breaks contract? Who will they go too? What is the process to get a new owner? Government, if you like it or not, efficient or not, no matter what gives a more substantial continuity and security to make sure general good and maintenance of a society is constantly maintained for the short and long run. Yes there are efficiencies that the private sector can provide to government, but in all the private sector just cares about itself. Society needs a cohesive like government to give a people a say in their daily lives and surroundings and a sense of place even with all its imperfections.

    It is important to have these conversations to check what we really want and hold true to our being, especially with the discourse and rhetoric of the current state, but I do not believe matt that you really have been a part of this conversation. Yes you said what you wanted to say, but you only listened to the comments that you really wanted to listen too. That is why with my first post, I indicated this post is a rebuttal for viewers to read.

  • matt

    jtb,

    Don’t worry your viewpoint is in the lead. Your preference is the norm and my remains a thought experiment. You assume that the anarcho-capitalist theory has not been thought through but that is just because you have not investigated. I would suggest mises.org as a starting point. Murray Rothbard’s “for a new liberty” is free for download as .pdf or an audiobook – even if you hate the idea it is entertaining to listen to while mowing the lawn. Left leaning libertarians is worth a google as well as they cover a lot of the philosophy along with the practical pieces.

    You may be content with the world as it is today and think the practice of corporatism and cronyism, endless war and fiscal mismanagement is a fair trade for knowing who will plow your road in 20 years but I can’t accept that. Sleep well knowing your taxes fill the pockets of the Partners and kill the brown people of the world while the TSA pats down grandma. Again the potential pitfalls of anarchy/minarchy seem tame in comparison.

  • Bob Collins

    Invoking the oft-stated News Cut rule here.

    No more posting about what you think other people think. Write about what you think. Defend your ideas on the issue by a supporting argument about what YOU think.

    Don’t speak for someone else. Speak for yourself only.