# Privatization

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Many of us want those turned private too.

Because that's worked out so well where? Adjust for inflation and rising costs and I'm still paying 25% more for my utilities since they went private. Here's a study that might help your perspective.

Privatize Social Security? Do you have any concept of the disaster we'd be in right now if Bush's plan to privatize SS during his second term had been successful? You'd have a bunch of even richer bankers and a nation full of retired homeless people.

And how could any private library be operated at the level I enjoy right now without charging me at least 25% more in order to satisfy their stockholders?

As for roads, there are better ways to save taxes than privatization. In Germany, home of the Autobahn (which is no different in concept than the Interstate Highway system in the US), they use asphalt just like most countries, yet they spend a fraction of what we pay per mile on road maintenance. They also have glass-smooth roads that last for many years without needing costly repairs. What’s their secret? They let the asphalt cure for 3 months before they let anyone drive on it. They divert traffic and drivers are made aware of alternate routes. After the asphalt cures it wears like iron and is pure heaven to drive on.

On one hand, road maintenance employs a ton of people, from the workers to the asphalt manufacturers. Letting us drive on fresh asphalt means less time waiting for our favorite roads to become available again. But we pay a lot in taxes and get terrible roads in return.

On the other hand, letting them cure would mean a huge savings in taxes. We’d also spend less on vehicle maintenance due to fewer potholes. And we’d have better roads to drive on. But we’d have to detour longer.

Sorry to go all off-topic, but privatization is just bad, imo. Some folks just don't want to have to pay taxes so the lesser folks can enjoy a swimming pool. Unless they own the pool....

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How do you argue even a slightly higher tax rate for people who are convinced they don't need the programs it gets spent on? I swear there are some disconnected brains out there that can't figure out who builds the roads and the libraries.

Many of us want those turned private too. Yay Ron Paul!

Private roads? Seriously? How far should that go? Just the highways, or all the roads?

I've never heard of the concept of a completely privatised road system... it's fascinating, and scary. Companies control your mobility. It's the ultimate capitalist dream, but I fail to see how it can work.

So, let's assume that we want to privatise all the roads, including sidewalks and bike roads, how would that work? Can we privatise rivers too? Because how can a road company compete with a river? And if you don't pay, you cannot use the roads (even on foot)? How could a sidewalk be profitable? So many questions.

And if you decide that you don't like the company that connects to your house or your local shops, can you then build your own road in parallel? How do you even get any competition (you can't privatise something without enabling competition)?

I really fail to see how this does not turn into a giant monopoly position for various companies, and who the road company wouldn't just charge enormous prices for a passage on a crappy old road? Would a government be allowed to control the prices (how can you have competition with a government that tells you what you can and cannot do)?

And I think it goes straight against human rights (article 13.1) that you have a freedom to move around without having to pay someone all the time.

I know this is going totally off topic, so I have reported my own post, and I've proposed to split this off as a separate thread.

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You could charge for GPS. Which is what the Europeans are trying to do with Galileo, only to find out that private companies didn't want to ante up and buy the service (partly, I presume, because GPS is free). NIST charges for calibration services, among other things. Where I work we actually charge other government agencies for some things, but can't charge the general public. I suspect people will have a hard time with a hybrid system of paying taxes and also for services, since they'll think they are already paying for it (and government officials do a bad job of convincing us otherwise)

The problems with direct competition vs taxation includes this: taxation will always be a cheaper way of funding a service, because you get to charge people who don't use the service. If you have kids, you don't pay the real cost of their schooling, because I don't have kids and still pay into the system. We tax people who don't drive very much, which help pay for roads that are used by others. But if this were done as a business, as competition, it would cost the users more. We have a prime example in Virginia — the Dulles Greenway, connecting the airport region with Leesburg. It's 14 miles long and costs $4.45 for a single trip over the entire length (more for trucks and during rush hour).$44.50 a week for commuters. Contrast that with the entire federal highway system, for which the median taxpayer pays $64 a year. I've seen a number of initiatives in the government where they have outsourced some task, and either it ends up being more expensive or the quality of service goes down. Sometimes both. The budget savings that are claimed when the project is championed never seem to pan out. Privatization means companies who wish to make a profit. Having the government run the road system with taxes means that the costs are shared, but even if you don't drive you gain benefit from enhanced commerce; you might not use the road yourself, but the trucks that deliver goods to the local stores or to your door do use them. Privatization would drive those costs up. ##### Link to post ##### Share on other sites Why is it people who whine about paying taxes for shared services suddenly grasp the concept when it's insurance? They don't mind the masses joining the risk pool to drive down their costs of owning a bunch of toys then. But when it comes to things like social programs, or public libraries, or public schools, or swimming pools, or a family protection fund like Social Security, things they likely won't get much direct use from, they scream about the burden. Yet these things improve the quality of life for the majority of citizens, and make those citizens more capable and productive, something you'd think the Libertarians and the wealthy would appreciate. I know why the wealthy don't want to pay for these things the lower classes enjoy more. But I would ask even the Libertarians who want to privatize everything, what will happen when education is privatized? Are you going to be OK with it when the corporations still want K-12 education to be mandatory until age 18? How does that fit in with your idea of free market capitalism with no government intervention? Because you know there will be many lower income families who won't be able to afford the much higher cost of privatized education for their children, and that's a market that the education corporations won't want to miss out on. ##### Link to post ##### Share on other sites Why is it people who whine about paying taxes for shared services suddenly grasp the concept when it's insurance? They don't mind the masses joining the risk pool to drive down their costs of owning a bunch of toys then. But when it comes to things like social programs, or public libraries, or public schools, or swimming pools, or a family protection fund like Social Security, things they likely won't get much direct use from, they scream about the burden. Yet these things improve the quality of life for the majority of citizens, and make those citizens more capable and productive, something you'd think the Libertarians and the wealthy would appreciate. Once the gap between poor and rich is so huge that the rich indeed pay a disproportionate part of taxes (because of an even more disproportionate income!), it makes sense not to support anything tax based, and to privatize everything. If you are rich and you pay tax, you pay your own education, library and security, but also the education, library and security of the much poorer neighbor. If it's all privatized, you pay your own education, library and security, and you have extra money for a nice swimming pool, and screw that neighbor. The core of the problem therefore is the huge gap between rich and poor, and our selfishness. The first can be changed. The second, I'm afraid, is just in our nature. ##### Link to post ##### Share on other sites The core of the problem therefore is the huge gap between rich and poor, and our selfishness. The first can be changed. The second, I'm afraid, is just in our nature. Which is why federally regulated programs are particularly effective for the nation as a whole. The wealthy are still wealthy and the poor aren't devastatingly poor. The wealthy get the benefits of a happier, smarter, healthier work force for the businesses they own while still enjoying the advantages of privilege, and life is more bearable for those who have no such advantages. The best solutions are those that take everything into consideration, and don't just focus on the extreme ends of the spectrum. ##### Link to post ##### Share on other sites Because that's worked out so well where? Adjust for inflation and rising costs and I'm still paying 25% more for my utilities since they went private. Here's a study that might help your perspective. Privatize Social Security? Do you have any concept of the disaster we'd be in right now if Bush's plan to privatize SS during his second term had been successful? You'd have a bunch of even richer bankers and a nation full of retired homeless people. And how could any private library be operated at the level I enjoy right now without charging me at least 25% more in order to satisfy their stockholders? As for roads, there are better ways to save taxes than privatization. In Germany, home of the Autobahn (which is no different in concept than the Interstate Highway system in the US), they use asphalt just like most countries, yet they spend a fraction of what we pay per mile on road maintenance. They also have glass-smooth roads that last for many years without needing costly repairs. What’s their secret? They let the asphalt cure for 3 months before they let anyone drive on it. They divert traffic and drivers are made aware of alternate routes. After the asphalt cures it wears like iron and is pure heaven to drive on. On one hand, road maintenance employs a ton of people, from the workers to the asphalt manufacturers. Letting us drive on fresh asphalt means less time waiting for our favorite roads to become available again. But we pay a lot in taxes and get terrible roads in return. On the other hand, letting them cure would mean a huge savings in taxes. We’d also spend less on vehicle maintenance due to fewer potholes. And we’d have better roads to drive on. But we’d have to detour longer. Sorry to go all off-topic, but privatization is just bad, imo. Some folks just don't want to have to pay taxes so the lesser folks can enjoy a swimming pool. Unless they own the pool.... Sorry for not replying sooner! To start with the easier stuff to respond to, with that last section of your post: from my POV, the "lesser folks" need to earn their own money to have a swimming pool membership, or rely on charitable gifts to them from richer friends. If I was rich, I'd rather give my money to someone who I saw working hard but didn't have enough for a joining a private pool, than give it to the government and have them decide who to give it to. Incidentally, a friend does share their pool with me. As to libraries, I am seeing libraries near me (maybe in other parts of the world and other states in the US they are more responsible) being torn down to build these huge beautiful new ones. The problem is that there was nothing wrong with the old one, and the new one (this is happening at multiple locations, and one is already completed) is one level, but has a ceiling more than high enough for 3 floors AND has large numbers of huge glass windows, both of which add to the heating and cooling cost. I would think that a privately owned library would be a little more intellegent with their money, and thus cheaper. Also, is there even a whole lot of point for libraries with the advent of the internet? (That's an honest question, I'm not trying to make it sound rhetorical or anything.) For roads, I used to support them being privatized, but after I heard the argument that they could be considered a national defense, I mostly support their governmentally owned status. So, I retract my position on that... I found the part of your post on them fascinating though. I really fail to see how this nation will continue to be able to operate Social security and the other "welfare-like" services that it runs because of the cost. Maybe I need to do some research? For schools, although I don't go to a public school, I support them and other kinds of federal education (but I'm pretty irritated that in my state we can't do some public schooled classes and some classes on our own; they have this all or nothing policy.) I don't believe that it is the best for most of the kids who go to them; I believe a homeschooled or private schooled environment is usually much more conducive to learning, but I do think people need to be taught even if their parents can't afford to do so -- and if a student has mental trouble, like autism, I don't think is fair to force the whole cost on the parents. ##### Link to post ##### Share on other sites " If I was rich, I'd rather give my money to someone who I saw working hard but didn't have enough for a joining a private pool, than give it to the government and have them decide who to give it to." Perhaps you would but the data shows that people on lower incomes actually pay a larger part of it towards charitable causes than rich people do. The idea that the rich would voluntarily pay for, for example, swimming pools, isn't supported by the facts. "As to libraries, I am seeing libraries near me (maybe in other parts of the world and other states in the US they are more responsible) being torn down to build these huge beautiful new ones. The problem is that there was nothing wrong with the old one" Did you ask the librarians? Did you check that the antiquated heating systems of the old buildings and their design (prior to much emphasis on energy conservation) were not actually more expensive to heat than the modern ones? " I would think that a privately owned library would be a little more intellegent with their money," I don't know if you can watch this in the states http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b0184xg1/Panorama_Whos_Getting_Rich_on_your_Money/ it includes an article about a school- built by a private company and privately owned , that has no light switches- so the lights are on 24/7. The education department pays for the power not the school owner so it didn't make "financial sense" for the switches to be included. "I really fail to see how this nation will continue to be able to operate Social security and the other "welfare-like" services that it runs because of the cost. Maybe I need to do some research?" Yes, you very clearly need to do some research. It's not that difficult. The nation can continue to operate in exactly that same way that it operated before. Nothing much has changed. People are born, go to school, go to work, get old, retire and die. From time to time during that, they get sick. OK, so people live longer- it's reasonable to assume that they will have to work for longer. Where I work, retirement used to be mandatory at 60. That upset a lot of people who would have preferred to carry on working. That situation has now changed. The retirement age isn't mandatory any more. "For schools, although I don't go to a public school..." You seem to have much to learn. ##### Link to post ##### Share on other sites You seem to have much to learn. That's why I'm here. Did you ask the librarians? Did you check that the antiquated heating systems of the old buildings and their design (prior to much emphasis on energy conservation) were not actually more expensive to heat than the modern ones? No, I did not, however, they have still built a large wasteful one that could have saved (if indeed it was saving money) even more money. The nation can continue to operate in exactly that same way that it operated before... Except for a little debt problem. The idea that the rich would voluntarily pay for, for example, swimming pools, isn't supported by the facts. Is everyone entitled to a swimming pool? If the rich all have swimming pools, then those who can't afford them could just find a lake to use (even if we did away with the park service, I imagine lakes would still be pretty cheap to enter) and swim in it. ##### Link to post ##### Share on other sites " If the rich all have swimming pools, then those who can't afford them could just find a lake to use " Are you proposing to publicly fund heating some lakes, or do you accept that they two ideas are not really comparable? "Except for a little debt problem. " There are two ways to pay off a debt. You can cut spending or you can increase income. We both seem to have governments that only consider one side of that pair. Not only that, but they are quite happy to increase expenditure on some things for which the justification is questionable. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Iraq_Dossier ##### Link to post ##### Share on other sites from my POV, the "lesser folks" need to earn their own money to have a swimming pool membership, or rely on charitable gifts to them from richer friends. If I was rich, I'd rather give my money to someone who I saw working hard but didn't have enough for a joining a private pool, than give it to the government and have them decide who to give it to. Incidentally, a friend does share their pool with me. How lucky for you! How many blue-collar hard-working lower middle class people is your friend willing to support with pool privileges? How will your friend decide who gets to swim? Remember, those workers, under YOUR system, also need library memberships, community center memberships, parks memberships and they also have to pay to drive on the roads, too. Right now, they're working hard but still living paycheck to paycheck for just the basics. Where is the extra money coming from to pay for the profit your privatized world will require? As to libraries, I am seeing libraries near me (maybe in other parts of the world and other states in the US they are more responsible) being torn down to build these huge beautiful new ones. The problem is that there was nothing wrong with the old one, and the new one (this is happening at multiple locations, and one is already completed) is one level, but has a ceiling more than high enough for 3 floors AND has large numbers of huge glass windows, both of which add to the heating and cooling cost. I would think that a privately owned library would be a little more intellegent with their money, and thus cheaper. Also, is there even a whole lot of point for libraries with the advent of the internet? (That's an honest question, I'm not trying to make it sound rhetorical or anything.) Are you referring to the new Silver Springs Library? If so, the old one was built 54 years ago. Not much in a structure that old to make way for improvements like phone systems and computers. By the way, the new library's atrium is set up to capture sunlight for heating in the winter and reflect it during the summer. It's got a LEED Silver rating from the US Green Building Council for sustainability and energy efficiency. For roads, I used to support them being privatized, but after I heard the argument that they could be considered a national defense, I mostly support their governmentally owned status. So, I retract my position on that... I found the part of your post on them fascinating though. I'm pretty sure you'll find many other reasons why privatization is equally undesirable in other areas. Thanks for the props, though. I really fail to see how this nation will continue to be able to operate Social security and the other "welfare-like" services that it runs because of the cost. Maybe I need to do some research? We need to reform Social Security and Medicare, no doubt about it. That doesn't mean the whole system is untenable. It's much more efficient to keep what works and shore up the parts that are being exploited. For schools, although I don't go to a public school, I support them and other kinds of federal education (but I'm pretty irritated that in my state we can't do some public schooled classes and some classes on our own; they have this all or nothing policy.) I don't believe that it is the best for most of the kids who go to them; I believe a homeschooled or private schooled environment is usually much more conducive to learning, but I do think people need to be taught even if their parents can't afford to do so -- and if a student has mental trouble, like autism, I don't think is fair to force the whole cost on the parents. Here you touch on the whole point of social programs. It's not about helping the poor or charity from the rich. It's about how we want the least of us to live, and about creating opportunity that reflects what a great a country we are. You really have no right to claim that people have an equal ability to succeed in the US unless you grant a measure of our pooled resources as a society to ensure a minimum subsistence that reflects how great we want to be. If we want average-schooled citizens (based on global markers), then our current funding is barely keeping pace. If we want above average education for our citizens, we need to work harder and be willing to fund and formulate a system that will ensure that. Is everyone entitled to a swimming pool? Why not entitle everyone to have access to one? That way, the rich won't be the ones to decide who merits access. If the rich all have swimming pools, then those who can't afford them could just find a lake to use (even if we did away with the park service, I imagine lakes would still be pretty cheap to enter) and swim in it. So... let them eat cake?! Pretty snooty, Marie. Despite the environmental reasons why lakes aren't good for public swimming, sooner or later, all the lakes would probably get bought up for private use. You begin to see why publicly owned lands and programs might be the best use of our resources. How can you expect the lesser people to work for you rich overlords if you don't allow them some freedom and recreation they can be proud of? ##### Link to post ##### Share on other sites How lucky for you! How many blue-collar hard-working lower middle class people is your friend willing to support with pool privileges? How will your friend decide who gets to swim? Quite a few. I don't know how they choose. We help them with some stuff too. Remember, those workers, under YOUR system, also need library memberships, community center memberships, parks memberships and they also have to pay to drive on the roads, too. Right now, they're working hard but still living paycheck to paycheck for just the basics. Where is the extra money coming from to pay for the profit your privatized world will require? Their taxes would also be less, but I see your point. I believe that their friends would help them out if it was necessary. Are you referring to the new Silver Springs Library? If so, the old one was built 54 years ago. Not much in a structure that old to make way for improvements like phone systems and computers. By the way, the new library's atrium is set up to capture sunlight for heating in the winter and reflect it during the summer. It's got a LEED Silver rating from the US Green Building Council for sustainability and energy efficiency. No. The one I was referring to as already built is shown in the following links. (I couldn't figure out how to attach them properly) http://www.google.com/imgres?q=germantown+library&um=1&hl=en&client=safari&sa=N&rls=en&biw=1249&bih=617&tbm=isch&tbnid=dQjp227yzYY-pM:&imgrefurl=http://www.montgomerycountymd.gov/content/libraries/BranchInfo/aboutgtlibrary.asp&docid=4sDUgsA1jAJ7dM&imgurl=http://www.montgomerycountymd.gov/content/libraries/images/germantownlib/GERMANTOWNRENDERING1_lrg.jpg&w=604&h=305&ei=35XWTqa-CMLt0gGT8f2XAg&zoom=1&iact=hc&vpx=250&vpy=155&dur=5758&hovh=159&hovw=316&tx=141&ty=114&sig=111875082840158307914&page=1&tbnh=91&tbnw=180&start=0&ndsp=18&ved=1t:429,r:1,s:0 http://www.google.com/imgres?q=germantown+library&um=1&hl=en&client=safari&sa=N&rls=en&biw=1249&bih=617&tbm=isch&tbnid=sksXDN2lunbDlM:&imgrefurl=http://www.montgomerycountymd.gov/content/dot/Dir/sustainability/green.asp&docid=DYmHW9LatLrtsM&imgurl=http://www.montgomerycountymd.gov/content/DOT/Dir/sustainability/images/damascus_rec.jpg&w=155&h=232&ei=35XWTqa-CMLt0gGT8f2XAg&zoom=1&iact=hc&vpx=468&vpy=301&dur=561&hovh=185&hovw=124&tx=91&ty=150&sig=111875082840158307914&page=2&tbnh=119&tbnw=84&start=18&ndsp=22&ved=1t:429,r:17,s:18 http://www.montgomerycountymd.gov/apps/libraries/branchinfo/gt.asp We need to reform Social Security and Medicare, no doubt about it. That doesn't mean the whole system is untenable. It's much more efficient to keep what works and shore up the parts that are being exploited. True. I'm not convinced libraries are the most efficient, and I don't see the point of them either. If we want average-schooled citizens (based on global markers), then our current funding is barely keeping pace. If we want above average education for our citizens, we need to work harder and be willing to fund and formulate a system that will ensure that. Will spending more money help schooling? http://mat.usc.edu/u...ld-infographic/ However, yes, I do see what you are saying in the rest of that section. Let me think about it. Why not entitle everyone to have access to one? That way, the rich won't be the ones to decide who merits access. If you give everyone everything they need, what is the incentive to work? Despite the environmental reasons why lakes aren't good for public swimming, sooner or later, all the lakes would probably get bought up for private use. You begin to see why publicly owned lands and programs might be the best use of our resources. How can you expect the lesser people to work for you rich overlords if you don't allow them some freedom and recreation they can be proud of? I'm a rich overlord now? Cool! More seriously: what's wrong with unions and the like to demand fair compensation (recreation facilities...) for their work? ##### Link to post ##### Share on other sites Quite a few. I don't know how they choose. We help them with some stuff too. That's great. I think you have above average access to wealthy friends, but it's obvious you're deserving of their charity. Their taxes would also be less, but I see your point. I believe that their friends would help them out if it was necessary. Their friends are most likely living the same way. Not everyone has wealthy friends like you do . Many people find it difficult to think far enough ahead to take care of needs they'll have in the future, even rich people (there's an astonishing number of wealthy people who die without a will, believe it or not). That's why taking tax dollars out of their paycheck for things like retirement and public works helps everyone. That's why Social Security and Medicare were established in the first place. And even a couple who never had children benefit from having paid taxes for public education. Every restaurant, bank, store and contractor they solicit has employees educated from public funds, ensuring a certain standard of proficiency. No. The one I was referring to as already built is shown in the following links. (I couldn't figure out how to attach them properly) This building had to dovetail with the BlackRock Center for the Arts. It also fits the surrounding contours of the town center. It looks like a great blend of modern efficiency and New England historical society. Not easy to achieve. True. I'm not convinced libraries are the most efficient, and I don't see the point of them either. For many people, public libraries are their only access to the web. They also act as meeting places for community affairs. Oh, and they have lots and lots of books, a great way to learn and experience places you can't afford to visit, times you never lived in and things you never imagined. If you like a great movie you should read the book that inspired it. It will be filled with fantastic details the movie could never reveal in 2-3 hours. For many, books and public libraries are better than theaters and movies, an archive of knowledge that waits for the reader to start the show by opening the cover. Hardcopy education and adventure at your own pace, a priceless public hub of literate communities. Will spending more money help schooling? I didn't say we needed more funding, I said we needed to formulate a better system and fund that. I'd like to know what Finland does to get 100% literacy and the best math and science scores in the world for$2090 less and one year more per child than we do. If we adopted their system and spent $1045 more per child than they do (saving ourselves$1045 per child), could we be better than they are?

If you give everyone everything they need, what is the incentive to work?

You think the current public services programs give everyone everything they need? It seems like the people who use these facilities are finding plenty of incentive to work. The fact that they have access to shared services and land their taxes pay for is motivation that has always strengthened communities and kept balance in a society too prone to extremes.

More seriously: what's wrong with unions and the like to demand fair compensation (recreation facilities...) for their work?

I don't understand the question as written. I don't get the union/recreation facilities connection you're trying to make.

I've never been a union member, but I'm glad they negotiate the kinds of wages and perks they do. It raises the bar with the people who might employ me because they have to compete. Without unions, millions of non-union workers would make less money.

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Many people find it difficult to think far enough ahead to take care of needs they'll have in the future, even rich people (there's an astonishing number of wealthy people who die without a will, believe it or not). That's why taking tax dollars out of their paycheck for things like retirement and public works helps everyone. That's why Social Security and Medicare were established in the first place. And even a couple who never had children benefit from having paid taxes for public education. Every restaurant, bank, store and contractor they solicit has employees educated from public funds, ensuring a certain standard of proficiency.

True. However, is it going to help people plan ahead if the government does it for them?

This building had to dovetail with the BlackRock Center for the Arts. It also fits the surrounding contours of the town center. It looks like a great blend of modern efficiency and New England historical society. Not easy to achieve.

The other option would have been to just build the library somewhere else, where they didn't "have to" make it so fancy.

For many people, public libraries are their only access to the web.

This is true, and I know people who almost exclusively access the web through their library. However, those who do that could also find somewhere else to access the web, and I am sure that wouldn't be hard for most people.

They also act as meeting places for community affairs.

My experiences may be different from reality, but it seems like there are usually other places that people can meet.

Oh, and they have lots and lots of books, a great way to learn and experience places you can't afford to visit, times you never lived in and things you never imagined.

If you like a great movie you should read the book that inspired it. It will be filled with fantastic details the movie could never reveal in 2-3 hours. For many, books and public libraries are better than theaters and movies, an archive of knowledge that waits for the reader to start the show by opening the cover. Hardcopy education and adventure at your own pace, a priceless public hub of literate communities.

I 100% agree that books are almost always better than movies (with some exceptions), and that is why I almost always choose a book over a movie. But I don't think a physical library is necessary; electronic books work just fine.

I didn't say we needed more funding, I said we needed to formulate a better system and fund that. I'd like to know what Finland does to get 100% literacy and the best math and science scores in the world for $2090 less and one year more per child than we do. If we adopted their system and spent$1045 more per child than they do (saving ourselves \$1045 per child), could we be better than they are?

Ah. I see.

You think the current public services programs give everyone everything they need? It seems like the people who use these facilities are finding plenty of incentive to work. The fact that they have access to shared services and land their taxes pay for is motivation that has always strengthened communities and kept a balance in a society too prone to extremes.

I should have worded my last post a little differently. Anyway, Yes, I believe that the current programs already give them practically everything that they need. The rest is wants, and those can be satisfied by working for them.

I don't understand the question as written. I don't get the union/recreation facilities connection you're trying to make.

I've never been a union member, but I'm glad they negotiate the kinds of wages and perks they do. It raises the bar with the people who might employ me because they have to compete. Without unions, millions of workers would make less money.

I'm not so sure about the millions of workers would make less money, but I don't really want to get into a debate about that (at least not yet). You said:

How can you expect the lesser people to work for you rich overlords if you don't allow them some freedom and recreation they can be proud of?

I'm not a "rich overlord," but regardless, what I was trying to say was that I don't expect people to work if they don't get those items. Unions are formed so that the "rich overlords" will have to give them those items (freedom and recreation). Since the problem is already taken care of, the government does not need to intervene on behalf of the "poor underdog." Does that make sense now?

And thanks for your posts, +1 to several of them.

" If the rich all have swimming pools, then those who can't afford them could just find a lake to use "

Are you proposing to publicly fund heating some lakes, or do you accept that they two ideas are not really comparable?

That was likely a bad comparison on my part, I concede, however, for a large part of the country, lakes would not need to be heated.

There are two ways to pay off a debt.

You can cut spending or you can increase income.

Which still means that:

The nation can continue to operate in exactly that same way that it operated before.

is wrong.

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True. However, is it going to help people plan ahead if the government does it for them?

Until we can change the way people think about the future (something that seems in short supply EVERYWHERE), then yes, it's the best way to make sure it happens.

The other option would have been to just build the library somewhere else, where they didn't "have to" make it so fancy.

They owned the land around that town center. With land prices in your city, believe me, they saved a lot building it where they did, and added to your city's reputation, beauty and livability.

This is true, and I know people who almost exclusively access the web through their library. However, those who do that could also find somewhere else to access the web, and I am sure that wouldn't be hard for most people.

Where, without paying a lot more?

My experiences may be different from reality, but it seems like there are usually other places that people can meet.

Probably not as centrally located and in as nice a neighborhood.

I 100% agree that books are almost always better than movies (with some exceptions), and that is why I almost always choose a book over a movie. But I don't think a physical library is necessary; electronic books work just fine.

Not always accessible, not always portable on trips without expensive gadgets, not as inexpensive and foolproof, not as senior-friendly.

I should have worded my last post a little differently. Anyway, Yes, I believe that the current programs already give them practically everything that they need. The rest is wants, and those can be satisfied by working for them.

OK. Give them back 17% on taxes. No privatized businesses would accept such a low profit, so where does the extra money for pools and parks and libraries and roads come from?

I'm not a "rich overlord," but regardless, what I was trying to say was that I don't expect people to work if they don't get those items. Unions are formed so that the "rich overlords" will have to give them those items (freedom and recreation). Since the problem is already taken care of, the government does not need to intervene on behalf of the "poor underdog." Does that make sense now?

I'm unaware of any union benefits that would be classified as recreation like a park or a library.

And thanks for your posts, +1 to several of them.

Thanks. You bring up good points too.

That was likely a bad comparison on my part, I concede, however, for a large part of the country, lakes would not need to be heated.

Lakes filled with people are not great places for animals, so where should they go?

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"That was likely a bad comparison on my part, I concede, however, for a large part of the country"

Other countries are also available.

"Unions are formed so that the "rich overlords" will have to give them those items (freedom and recreation)."

Unions were formed precisely because rich people didn't behave in the way you seem to expect them too.

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Until we can change the way people think about the future (something that seems in short supply EVERYWHERE), then yes, it's the best way to make sure it happens.

They owned the land around that town center. With land prices in your city, believe me, they saved a lot building it where they did, and added to your city's reputation, beauty and livability.

Yet the whole area practically dies at night, and many of the nearby businesses are just like "realtor" "bank" etc -- meaning that it doesn't seem to actually bring money via visitors to the town. It certainly added to the American reputation of wastefulness.

It certainly wasn't necessary to build the ceiling so tall, was it? One can build a nice library that fits with the rest of the city without heating and cooling so many cubic feet.

Where, without paying a lot more?

Like by patronizing their local Starbucks or McDonalds... or if that is too expensive, how about going to their neighbor's when they need to access it? (that isn't illegal in any way, is it?)

Probably not as centrally located and in as nice a neighborhood.

For example, there are schools relatively close to wherever you would want to meet.

Not always accessible, not always portable on trips without expensive gadgets, not as inexpensive and foolproof, not as senior-friendly.

Actually if you do much reading, your gadget will more than make the cost back. I think the senior-friendly problem will be gone soon as soon, seniors will have used computers for most of their lives.

OK. Give them back 17% on taxes. No privatized businesses would accept such a low profit, so where does the extra money for pools and parks and libraries and roads come from?

I don't understand what you are saying here?

I'm unaware of any union benefits that would be classified as recreation like a park or a library.

Of course not, because the government already provides it.

Lakes filled with people are not great places for animals, so where should they go?

Many lakes have large numbers of people swimming in them but still have animals. But you are right. However, I would expect there to still be private pools.

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Yet the whole area practically dies at night, and many of the nearby businesses are just like "realtor" "bank" etc -- meaning that it doesn't seem to actually bring money via visitors to the town. It certainly added to the American reputation of wastefulness.

Welcome to the Great Recession. Hopefully, with time, the economy will bounce back and that area will start seeing more use.

It certainly wasn't necessary to build the ceiling so tall, was it? One can build a nice library that fits with the rest of the city without heating and cooling so many cubic feet.

You'd be surprised at some of the ways those big floor to ceiling windows can help capture light to save on lighting costs, and they might also be using radiant heating and cooling as well. Tinting helps reflect or capture heat depending on the season and scoops on the roof bring in natural ventilation. I don't know for sure if your library did this, but it's clear that the plans went through public hearings before they were adopted as the final design. I doubt your city council wanted a building with an onerous upkeep. They would have taken advantage of modern efficiency in public works design.

Like by patronizing their local Starbucks or McDonalds... or if that is too expensive, how about going to their neighbor's when they need to access it? (that isn't illegal in any way, is it?)

Who says their neighbors have internet access? And if they did, who says it's wi-fi? And if it was, how long would they let neighbors stay over to use it (assuming it was legal)?

For example, there are schools relatively close to wherever you would want to meet.

Schools have lots of requirements for off-hours meetings. You need to have at least a building manager there to lock up afterwards. You have to have a teacher sponsor the meeting and take responsibility for those who attend. And it may even be out of the question in some municipalities where risks to the students are an even greater concern.

Actually if you do much reading, your gadget will more than make the cost back. I think the senior-friendly problem will be gone soon as soon, seniors will have used computers for most of their lives.

Eventually, maybe. Books have stood the test of time, though, I wouldn't count them out any time soon. I thought they'd stop making vinyl records when CDs came out, but I was wrong.

I don't understand what you are saying here?

You were arguing that privatizing things that taxes currently pay for would give people that tax money back. The average salary puts most people in the 25% tax bracket, but you can't give it all back (we need those interstate highways and some federal funds, right?) so I was going to give you back 17% on taxes (really generous of me) so you can now privately buy all those things taxes used to pay for.

But private businesses would need to provide at least the same service the government did, plus they need a profit for their shareholders. A privatized swimming pool would need to charge as much as the public pool did, plus an amount for profit. This is where privatization makes no sense. How can you possibly offer the same service at the same price when someone has to pay off the shareholders?

Of course not, because the government already provides it.

Then I don't understand where you were coming from with the union/recreation question.

Many lakes have large numbers of people swimming in them but still have animals. But you are right. However, I would expect there to still be private pools.

Which HAVE to cost more because they're private.

The deal with shared public programs and facilities is that we agree that having some things available to everyone, regardless of wealth or working status, is a benefit to the society as a whole, a gift that we as humans can give because we're a cooperative society. Nobody gets where they are by themselves, I don't care how many bootstraps you pull yourself up by. We're only strong because we unite to make ourselves strong. Public institutions are a pledge we are able to make that says, "Yes, you are part of a much greater bond that reflects what we've all achieved."

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The deal with shared public programs and facilities is that we agree that having some things available to everyone, regardless of wealth or working status, is a benefit to the society as a whole, a gift that we as humans can give because we're a cooperative society. Nobody gets where they are by themselves, I don't care how many bootstraps you pull yourself up by. We're only strong because we unite to make ourselves strong. Public institutions are a pledge we are able to make that says, "Yes, you are part of a much greater bond that reflects what we've all achieved."

After reading conversations on the subject of public or private I can understand the points made by both sides of the isle. The first sentence of your last paragraph I think is spot on. I would have to add something to the second line of the paragraph though. It is true that nobody gets where they are without the help of others. What I would add is that the burden is theirs and theirs alone to make the right decisions to get them in a position to be helped by others. I think this is a key factor in the debate of intitlement programs and privatization. Alot of people don't want to pay in to help someone that won't help themselves or haven't made the right choices in life. And don't missunderstand, I believe there are those out there that do need help and some that may be in a bad position through no falt of their own that need help. But there are also alot of others that take advantage of such programs and it is these kind that make people feel that way. But a stricter enforcement of laws against illagitimate claims and fraud would go along way towards making the programs more fiscally sound and acceptable to those on both sides of the argument.

I also don't believe in privatizing libraries and such. It should be up to a community to pay for places that enrich the lives of the people that share that community.

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Alot of people don't want to pay in to help someone that won't help themselves or haven't made the right choices in life. And don't missunderstand, I believe there are those out there that do need help and some that may be in a bad position through no falt of their own that need help. But there are also alot of others that take advantage of such programs and it is these kind that make people feel that way. But a stricter enforcement of laws against illagitimate claims and fraud would go along way towards making the programs more fiscally sound and acceptable to those on both sides of the argument.

I'm glad you brought this up. Welfare is a key social program that can never be effectively privatized. No one I've ever talked to about welfare would deny benefits to a widowed mother of three who needed a temporary helping hand. Equally, I've never talked to anyone who wants those funds to go to a healthy, work-capable person who just doesn't want to work, but it costs less to put them on welfare than it does to put them in prison if they turn to crime for a living. And, apparently, policing the system effectively isn't cost-efficient either, since no one has been able or willing to come up with an answer.

I keep thinking a good computer algorithm could be set up to sniff out fraud and corruption in Welfare, Medicare and Social Security. There has to be some flags that fraudulent claims send up that could be sniffed out with the right searches in the systems.

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I keep thinking a good computer algorithm could be set up to sniff out fraud and corruption in Welfare, Medicare and Social Security. There has to be some flags that fraudulent claims send up that could be sniffed out with the right searches in the systems.

An excellent idea I think. Maybe since the cost is so high to imprison we could fight it in other ways. The first thing would be to flat out deny benifits to those who are found to be abusing the system. Then we could think about enforcing some sort of judicial punishment such as fines and probation to pay the money back that was defrauded from the program. Like you said, the cost would be substantial. But the overall outcome if successful would be benificial towards gaining acceptance and willingness to comprimise from both the right and left sides of the isle.
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I would try to avoid anything that might increase prison populations. We already have 25% of the world's prison population, but only 5% of the world population. Fines would be hard to pay for someone with no job who now had no welfare benefits. Believe me, all of this has been tried and it's all failed.

My best idea is some kind of standardized Minimum Subsistence program, where food, clothing and shelter are provided no matter who you are, for as long as you need it. It would be completely no-frills, available to anybody, designed to keep people off the streets and hep them learn some kind of skill or help clean up neighborhoods. It would provide a kind of baseline where the funds are used specifically for the necessary items instead of being paid out to be used for whatever (*cough* beer *cough*). The biggest problem with this idea is that it would put the widow and her family in with the slackers, possibly in the same facility. I don't like that part but it would end most of the current corruption. The second biggest problem would be the psychological factor, but I'm sure there are ways to address both those problems.

Speaking of prisons, here is a study done by the state of Arizona (some pretty hard-core conservatives and the home of Republican Senator John McCain). It shows that privatizing prisons, despite legislation requiring cost-effective measures, is more costly than publicly funded prisons. I think you'll find this to be true in virtually every area where you take a taxpayer-funded program and try to turn it into a for-profit business. And in cases like prisons, you still have to pay taxes for the government to pay for them, and you actually have to pay more taxes.

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