What Fresh Hell Is This?

October 4, 2010

In a Libertarian Paradise...

...Firefighters stand around and watch your home burn to the ground because you didn't buy a "subscription."

This actually happened in Tennessee.

The homeowner will be on Countdown with Keith Olbermann tonight.


EdHeath said...

We live in what is fast becoming a de facto libertarian paradise, though not because a majority of us voted for a smaller government (at least not in the last couple of national elections). We are living in an era of small government because of an economic downturn caused by the actions of Republicans like Phil Gramm in the the Clinton years, Mitch McConnell and George W Bush. We may be technically out of a recession, but because Obama was willing to believe he could work with the Republicans in Congress, our recovery is anemic to the point of not existing. So tax revenues are down across the board, and local governments are cutting services past the bone, and into safety services.

Why isn't there a volunteer fire department in the County of Obion? Why didn't the county officials simply tack the $75 City fee for fire services onto everyone's tax bill? I am assuming the answer to my first question is because Obion County doesn't have the money even for equipment, and the answer to my second is because in this Tea Party era, Obion County's elected officials don't have the political will to place the safety of county residents over the outcry that would occur because of an additional tax.

In a sense, the residents of Obion County outside of cities (living near South Fulton) do have a true libertarian choice. Mr Cranick knows that unless he subscribes to the fire services, he risks having his house burn down. And Mr Cranick's neighbors know that their houses are at risk if Mr Cranick doesn't subscribe to the fire services. I am assuming Mr Cranick isn't wealthy, since he didn't spend the $75. Now, if he had insurance he will wrangle with them, the burned out house will sit for some time, his family is homeless and therefore having to move or spend time in a hotel or becoming a burden to some part of the social services network (possibly government, possibly private). All of which to say is that government not providing certain minimum services hurts us all in at least some small way.

Conservative Mountaineer said...

Harrummpphh.. Apparently, the Liberal mindset on the fire fee is the same as their mindset on health insurance and pre-existing conditions.. Only pay it when you house is on fire.. just like wanting health insurance coverage when you get sick. Typical.

Maria said...

No. The liberal view is that there shouldn't be insurance/subscriptions/fees for fire protection or police protection -- that there shouldn't be protection only for those who can afford it. These are public safety matters (as seen in this instance when the fire spread to his neighbor's property).

Firefighters and police should be paid for by taxes and should be considered basic necessities for a civil society.

Not sure how conservatives -- who recognize the need for paying for national security via taxes -- would suddenly not get the need for local security.

By the way, I grew up in an area of PA which had volunteer fire and ambulence service and the volunteers included immediate family members so the idea of having folks stand around and watch a house burn to the ground is completely foreign to me.

EdHeath said...

CM, every other industrial nation has heavily regulated or government controlled health care and insurance (and better average/aggregate health outcomes at lower cost per patient). But y'all conservatives' solution to America's healthcare/insurance crisis, which was consuming more and more of our GNP? Less regulation, allowing insurance companies to offer health insurance across state lines. Which might well create an oligopolistic or even a monopolistic system.

It still amazes me that conservatives claim to understand economics and yet can't understand situations that are clearly market failure.

Which is a different problem than the one in Tennessee.

Ol' Froth said...

Been reading about the TN case, and it appears the county tried to get a fairly minimal fire services tax through (one that for a typical home would be less than the $75 subscription fee), but the voters shot it down. In the past, the city departments would bill a non-paying county homeowner, but had no way to enforce collection, and were seeing less than half of county residents who needed fire services pay the call out fee. Peversly, most of the city's fire calls were in the rural areas, due to the common practice of residents buring their garbage, because the trash collection apparently is also fee for service. A Galtian paradise, I tells ya!

Mark Rauterkus said...

But, we in Western PA are known for police making an arrest of the guy who ties to put out the fire at his house with a lawn hose.