Sunday, July 31, 2011

Dumb Letters: Privatize Yourself

This is a whopper from some knucklehead from the Cascade Policy Institute. (I'm not linking to them. You can Google them if you want. Basically they worship at the altar of Milton Friedman.)

The issue seems to be that U.S. National Parks aren't serving their "customers" the way some people think they should be. The letter writer seems to think that the issue is the "bureaucratic mentality" at the Parks Service. I always love this idea. Free-market ideologues always love to complain about "bureaucracy" in government, as if there were absolutely no bureaucracies in corporations.

"Instead of remaining a lumbering Leviathan, the Park Service should embrace market principles and privatize the parks. ... Since these privately managed parks wouldn’t have the luxury of using other people’s money, they would need to accommodate consumer demand. The solution? Privatize them, of course."

Of course. Consumer demand? Really? I thought that the Parks Service was about keeping lands pure so they wouldn't be overrun by sprawl, industry and advertising. Privatizing them would lead to exactly the kind of "progress" that the National Parks were supposed to forestall.

Of course, if they were using private money, those people supplying the money would naturally be expecting a return on their investment. And how would they be getting that? Trees don't generate a lot of revenue, unless you're cutting them down. I'm thinking it would be along the lines of turning all of our parks into Disney World, with fee-based attractions and miles and miles of advertising. A significant improvement over all of those boring trees, I'm sure.

"In addition, since these lands would be managed by environmentalists in the private sector, there would be little risk of regulatory capture by special interests, which was all too common in the Reagan and George W. Bush administrations."

What environmentalists in the private sector? I also love how "special interests" means people looking out for the public welfare and not, oh, the oil industry, which looks out for the profits of a very few people.

The comments section shows a wealth of wisdom in knocking this lunatic down. I wish the WaPo would have given the responses to this letter equal placement. This guy is ludicrous.

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