I have not posted for a while. Between shift-work and my TV show and the duties of daily life, I have been a bit busy. There were a couple of news-worthy articles last week that I do have to share.
The big one is the discussion of privatizing and combining resources. If you are a Republican, these are key issues. If you are motivated by a blind obeisance to a political philosophy rather than to critical thought, your position on these issues is already decided. You need read no further.
The News of Cumberland County had an article describing the debate on two issue in particular; leasing the county landfill, and consolidating law enforcement in the county.
Freeholder Bill Whelan explained privatizing operations of the Cumberland County Improvement Authority (CCIA) landfill could come with an economic benefit to the county.
Okay – as a Tea-
Bagger Party conservative, you will have the knee-jerk reaction that government has not business int he trash business. yeah, let’s leave waste collection and disposal to the mob – they are much more efficient. After all, we haven’t heard from Jimmy Hoffa in ages.
Arguments abound whether private industry or government can be more efficient in certain duties. Virtually everyone agree that it is the place of government to ensure the public well-being. In fact the constitution is quite clear on this matter.
We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.
What most Tea Partiers miss is that part where the first sentence of the Constitution states unequivocally, promote the general Welfare. That encompasses a rather broad spectrum. Rather than ensuring that the pharmaceutical industry is able to reap huge profits and their CEOs take home multi-million dollar salaries, which both political parties seem to do very well, our elected officials at every level from local to federal have an obligation to promote the general welfare. First sentence of the Constitution.
If you know your history, you understand that the 10 amendments were hotly debated and not universally agreed upon, However, this first sentence was unanimous. The general welfare (well, the promotion thereof) was THE overriding concern of the framers of the Constitution.
Okay, I have essential eviscerated the argument that government has no place participating in (or controlling via legislation) certain endeavors, in this case waste management.
Bill Whelan makes the argument that leasing the landfill to a private company can somehow save taxpayers money. All well and good. My only concern is the person that is providing this advice and the corresponding information – Don Rainear. Don is a life-long political hack that has hopped from one political appointment to another. He has no true experience in private industry. He is also Lou Magazzu lackey, and we have broached this subject many times on this blog.
My question is this, (and you can apply it to the sale of The Manor as well) “If a private company can run the landfill at a profit, why can’t the county do it also? Doing so would pad the county coffers.”
The irksome issue is that the impetus behind this move is to use the proceeds “to trade operation of the landfill for cash to use for economic development in the county…”
When Steve Wymbs was director of the CCIA, there was quite a bit of cash surplus that was utilized for this purpose. The same Don Rainear that is proposing to lease the landfill portion of the CCIA obligations so that the money can be tapped by the county was the same person that cut off those funds, claiming the landfill was essentially not profitable. What gives? I expect my friend Haystacks Calhoun to chime in here. There is definitely a logical disconnect somewhere.
Should the county study the issue? Certainly. However, trash collection certainly falls into the spectrum of general welfare. If a private company can hire people and take care of trash, why can’t the county do it, and pass the savings (the profit that the private company would be paying to CEO’s) on to the taxpayers? No matter who runs the operation, the costs will be the same. The ONLY difference is that a private company is doing it for profit – hence INCREASING costs to the taxpayer. Everybody in New jersey understands what an atrocity motor vehicle inspection became under the privatization that Christie Whitman shoved down our throats (for the sole purpose of benefiting her political contributors).
In short, any increase in monies dedicated for an “economic benefit” to the county would come at the cost of increased tipping fees – increased expenses for all county residents – if a for-profit company (surely a political contributor if history gives us any hint) takes over. CEO’s and Presidents and Vice Presidents and 2nd Vice Presidents in charge of picking up old mattresses will all get a lovely income – Cumberland County residents will pick up the tab and be told they are supposed to feel good that the county is looking at all options to save money.