Author’s note: this post is dedicated to D Sidhe, in the hopes that she will draw Stossel as the appropriate parasite.
This week John Stossel shows us how the private sector is Making Parks Decent Again (for decent people only).
Yes, Stossel says that the way to fix “badly maintained” public parks is simple: give them, as tax-free gifts, to “entrepreneurs” who will run them as for-profit enterprises. That way, the public doesn’t have to fund them anymore, they are available for use by concession sellers, special event planners, local businesses, and real estate owners who want to sell park-front property to rich people. And, best of all, only the homeless people who play by the rules get in.
America is filled with parks that are filthy, dangerous and badly maintained. The governments in charge plead: We can’t help it. Our budgets have been slashed. We don’t have enough money!
Bryant Park, in midtown Manhattan, was once such an unsavory place. But now it’s nice. What changed? Dan Biederman essentially privatized the park.
With permission from frustrated officials who’d watch government repeatedly fail to clean up the park, Biederman raised private funds from “businesses around the park, real estate owners, concessions and events sponsorships. … (S)ince 1996, we have not asked the city government for a single dollar.”
Sounds good to me.
Of course it does. Stossel would think it sounded good to give the state of West Virginia to Donald Trump to use as a game preserve for rich guys who want to hunt the most dangerous game. (After all, many West Virginians are poor, and would probably welcome the chance to be hunted for money, if they had no better prospects. And anyway, the government hasn’t made a financial windfall off of the state, so it should be turned over to somebody who could make it a paying proposition.
But Shirley Kressel, a Boston journalist, doesn’t agree with the idea of giving Boston Common to Dan, the guy who now basically owns Bryant Park.
“(W)e don’t need … to teach our next generation of children that the only way they can get a public realm is as the charity ward of rich people and corporations,” she said. “We can afford our public realm. We’re entitled to it. We pay taxes, and that’s the government’s job.”
Silly journalist, haven’t you been paying attention to Stossel: NOTHING is the government’s job! Except to contract out for-profit wars and the American justice system! And anyway, you pay your taxes in order to allow corporations to make the world a better place for corporations, not to provide any personal benefit to you.
And when she objected that privatized parks won’t allow the homeless to use them, Dan said that this just isn’t so.
“The homeless people are welcomed into Bryant Park if they follow the rules. And those same 13 people are there almost every day. We know their names.”
And doesn’t sound that great! A park where 13 select homeless are allowed to visit, and everyone knows their names! And the rules are followed! And if they aren’t, well, Dan knows their names . . .
But let’s let Stossel give us the lesson to be learned from the shining example of Bryant Park:
Once again, the creative minds of the private sector invent solutions that never occur to government bureaucrats. If government would just get out of the way, entrepreneurship and innovation, stimulated by the profit motive, will make our lives better.
Yes, greedy bastards, stimulated by the profit motive, will make our lives better, if only we will welcome this brave new corporate world.