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Thursday, December 30, 2010

Blizzard in NYC

There was a blizzard in NYC. It was more than a foot of snow.

Three days later, they still haven't cleared the roads. Some buses and subway lines aren't operating.

"Clean up after a blizzard" is something government should do well. It's labor intensive and doesn't require any creativity. The snowplows are garbage trucks with a plow attached, driven by sanitation workers already employed by the government.

As usual, the problem is that government has a monopoly. You can't say "You did a lousy job! You're fired!" A lot of people are angry, but nothing will change.

State bureaucrats can claim "It was a lot of snow! This was hard!" It really was a lot of snow, but this is unacceptable. It's already been three days. They have a monopoly, so there's no comparison.

State bureaucrats have no positive obligation to help you. If they do a lousy job with snow removal, that's just too bad.

When I lived in Chicago, they always cleaned up the snow fast. The saying was "There once was a big snowstorm and the government did a lousy job. People were so angry that they couldn't fix the next election. People in Chicago will tolerate all sorts of corruption, but failing to clean up after a blizzard crosses the line." Chicago gets more snow than NYC. They were noticeably better at removing it.

Somewhat predictably, the mainstream media is defending the State. The spin is "Careless drivers who got their cars stuck are to blame. They blocked the plows." Who has a monopoly for helping stuck cars? Another excuse is "It's a lot of snow! We don't have the resources to plow every street!" Downtown Manhattan was well-plowed, but low-income residential areas were not plowed.

In a really free market, people would contract snow removal services directly. In a really free market, if you do a bad job, you lose customers. Pro-State trolls say "The State is needed to deal with emergencies!" When there really is a need, the State does a lousy job, and then State comedians make excuses.

In the present, people in low-income areas get the scraps of State services. They should be able to contract snow removal services directly, and not be forced at gunpoint to pay for lousy State services.

Newark was also unprepared. However, Newark's mayor was active on Twitter. If people used Twitter to ask him for help, he dispatched a crew to help or went himself. It was a good publicity stunt.

The NYC government did a lousy job cleaning up after this blizzard. They have a monopoly. Other causes are blamed, but the real problem is that, with a monopoly, there isn't much incentive to do a good job. Government bureaucrats do not have a positive obligation to help you or protect you. When they fail, you can't fire them and hire replacements. In an election, the leader figureheads are replaced, but most bureaucrats keep their jobs.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

When I lived in Detroit, the plows got going early and on the way by the UAW hall and Teamsters Union Bldg. cleared out the parking lots on the way to the streets of Motown. This was done to show how well the union guys obeyed the Elites, and curried favor with the people to side with the unions.

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