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Why Do Municipalities Do Things Businesses Can…. Then Whine When They Go Broke?

todayJuly 11, 2012 4

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Mandeville, LA – Exclusive Transcript – Those sanitation services that so many cities so foolishly took over, they didn’t have to take them over.  That was a choice, a foolish choice.  Ditto that for the recycling.  That’s what got Harrisburg into trouble, believing they could run their own trash incinerator or whatever the hell they called it.  In other words, governments have been told by the citizenry, foolishly, “Do all of our work for us.  We don’t want to do a damn thing other than go to Saints games, Washington Senators games, hockey games, basketball games and every other hell forsaken leisure activity.  We’re not responsible for anything, except our own lawns.”  Now there’s no money to pay for it.

 

Begin Mike Church Show Transcript

Mike:  You’re missing the point.  If the citizens in your town don’t want to be taxed anymore, and if your city has made promises it can’t keep, and if its citizens are saying we’re not giving you any more, that’s the answer.  You’re going to have to find a new line of work.  [mocking] “Mike, that sucks.  It’s America.  That can’t happen.”  Why can’t it?  It’s going to have to happen.  The longer you deny it, the worse it becomes.  There are some people that want these cities to borrow the money.  You’re going to borrow money to make a payroll?  Are you insane?  Listen to this one.  We just left the mayor of Scranton, Pennsylvania who does not have the money to pay the promises he made with city employees.  Let’s go to San Bernardino, California.

[reading]

San Bernardino may become the third California city in two weeks to file for municipal bankruptcy protection, as its struggle with declining tax revenue, growing employee costs and ill-timed public works projects.

[end reading]

Mike:  Don’t worry, Scranton.  You’ve got a train station coming your way, I bet, I’m sorry, San Bernardino.  Governor Brown is going to — there’s money out there galore.  Somebody will let you borrow it.  [mocking] “Stop saying the B word around here.  Stop saying the B word, dude.  You keep saying the B word.  Not going to get the train funded, you idiot.”  Speaking, of course, about the super train, it’s going to travel from San Francisco to Los Angeles at the cost of $68 billion, $41 billion of which will be picked off the boatload of federal money tree that’s just hanging around out there.

[start audio clip]

Justice Elena Kagan:  The federal government is here saying, we’re giving you a boatload of money.

[end audio clip]

Mike:  Yep, boatload of money.  It’s a boatload, California.  Back to San Bernardino, California.

[reading]

The City Council is to consider authorizing the city attorney to file a Chapter 9 petition at a meeting late today, said Gwendolyn Waters, a spokeswoman.  A decision was possible tonight, though unlikely, she said.  [Mike: This was from Monday night, by the way.]  A San Bernardino bankruptcy would follow Stockton, a community of 292,000 east of San Francisco, which on June 28 became the largest U.S. city to file for bankruptcy.  Mammoth Lakes, a mountain resort of 8,200, filed for protection from creditors on July 3 saying it can’t afford to pay a $43 million judgment, more than twice its general-fund spending for the year.

San Bernardino, a city of 209,000 east of Los Angeles, faces a $45 million deficit this fiscal year, according to a June 26 budget analysis posted on its website.  The city has declared fiscal emergencies, negotiated for concessions from employees and reduced its workforce by 20 percent in four years.  [Mike: Yeah, but how much did they increase it in the ten years before they decreased it?]

“Cities are running out of options,” Michael Sweet, a partner specializing in bankruptcy at the San Francisco office of law firm Fox Rothschild LLP, said today in a telephone interview.  “As they see pension contribution obligations and retiree health-care costs going through the roof, revenue is at best stable if not declining.”

[end reading]

Mike:  You know what all these things have in common?  Government.  All of them.  Whether it is the crash of the stock market, government-induced, whether it is obligations that were made in council chambers, statehouses and Congress, government-induced, whether it is the confiscation or the assumption of otherwise private tasks and private duties being discharged now by government agencies, government, everywhere you look, all these problems are government-related.  I think you should approach the question that you just asked from a different point of view, which requires critical thinking and matrix cables to be unplugged from the back of people’s heads.  Why are all these cities assuming or why are the citizens allowing, or I guess being happy with, granting all these powers and responsibilities to their government?  That’s the question that no one is asking.

Why did you tell the government that it had to do sanitation?  There are plenty of private contractors out there that will come pick your garbage up for you.  Hell, they’ll even buy some land and call it a landfill.  They’ll even haul it to the landfill for you.  Don’t forget cities in California are also big on recycling.  What is recycling?  Recycling is a dead-end for dummies, other than in a few very limited instances.  If it were promoted as a market instead of a public service, recycling doesn’t work.  It consumes more energy than it ever saves.

Here are the instances where recycling does work: aluminum cans.  When I was a little boy, you used to go around and go to your neighbors, if your neighbor was a beer drinker, and you’d ask him to save his aluminum cans.  If they were soda pop drinkers and they were drinking out of cans, you’d ask them to save the cans. You’d take the cans, put them under your feet and squash them or get a can squasher.  After you collected a couple garbage bags full, you’d get your mom or dad to drive you down to the aluminum recycling joint.  They’d look in there.  They’d determine that it was all aluminum.  They’d throw it on the scale, figure out how much it was worth and they’d pay you for it.  Ditto that for newspapers.  Did you ever recycle newspapers when you were little?

AG:  Did we recycle in Maryland?  Yeah.

Mike:  No, I mean recycle for money, where you take the bundles and bundles of newspapers that you collected from neighbors and you haul them to the paper recycling plant and they pay you by the pound.  You know what they do with it?  They pulp that stuff.  What do they make out of the pulp?  Boxes, corrugated boxes.  Why do you think the boxes are brown?  The boxes were brown because that was a way to disguise the fact that the paper wasn’t pure.  They said, hey, if we dye these boxes brown, no one will know that this didn’t come from raw, virgin trees.

My point is, those sanitation services that so many cities so foolishly took over, they didn’t have to take them over.  That was a choice, a foolish choice.  Ditto that for the recycling.  That’s what got Harrisburg into trouble, believing they could run their own trash incinerator or whatever the hell they called it.  In other words, governments have been told by the citizenry, foolishly, [mocking] “Do all of our work for us.  We don’t want to do a damn thing other than go to Saints games, Washington Senators games, hockey games, basketball games and every other hell forsaken leisure activity.  We’re not responsible for anything, except our own lawns.”  Now there’s no money to pay for it.

End Mike Church Show Transcript

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ClintStroman

Written by: ClintStroman

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