Monday, June 25, 2012

Cities forced to sell ads for chicken wings on public works!




The ongoing looting of public income and assets continues unabated. To survive, municipalities have been lowered to basically prostituting themselves: forced to reach for any means of producing income, whether that be through the sale of assets, heightened and expanded fines or other penalties and now even advertising on public works. That's right, cities are resorting to ad placement on such things as firetrucks, fire hydrants, manhole covers and whatever else they can find, in an effort to generate desperately needed revenue. Do you suddenly find yourself in the mood for spicy chicken wings? Well maybe that's because you just saw it advertised on a sewer grate.

In other words, instead of investing in the stuff that we really need like roads, bridges, tunnels, all kinds of infrastructure, 21st century public transportation, schools, research facilities--the things that comprise the real capital to support growth, prosperity and a high standard of living for the next generation or two--we force our economy deeper and deeper into this junk-consumption/rent-extracting mode, that will leave us short of the real assets we need to be a first world nation. But, hey, life will be wonderful for landfill operators!

And why do we do this lunacy? Because of an idiotic belief that we've "run out of money." NO more fiat. Can't push that button on the keyboard.

As the public sector is forced violently to shrink, what does the vaunted private sector create in its absence? Remember, we've been told that the problem was that government was too big, that the private sector was getting crowded out and if it were just left alone to work its magic, then there'd be jobs and a vibrant, efficient economy with prosperity for all. So this is the private sector answer: prisons, reality TV shows, plastic throway crap that pollutes the environment and turning everything into a billboard.

To be sure, the wealthy and big business are loving it. They can scoop up all the valuable public assets, which have been paid for 50 times over by you and me in the form of taxes, and then they can extract rents for their use. Mind you, we used to have these things for free or at minimal cost, but that's not how the efficient private sector works; it has to make profit.

Our kids, who no longer have first-rate educations because of school closures, teacher layoffs and budget cuts, can look forward to a future of menial work (that is, if they're lucky), perhaps waving palm frons over the rich as they relax leisurely while their bank accounts grow from the income earned on the assets that WE BUILT AND PAID FOR!

What a lovely system. All hail the private sector! All hail austerity!

10 comments:

Jonf said...

It's all so very painful. E

Andrew said...

Agreed...

Preaching to the choir in my case, but I hope some other lost souls get saved.

Just curious.. In the USA is spending money on those in extreme poverty, homeless, under educated, unskilled, unhealthy, the wrong colour etc...... Is that considered unproductive spending or is considered raising the value of human capital.

It's all very fine to say people should make some effort to improve themselves. I believe in taking responsibility for your own actions, but I don't see how you can improve yourself if no opportunity exists.

Mike Norman said...

Yes, that is considered unproductive spending here in America. All forms of spending to those people are being cut, while all forms of spending to the wealthy and big business are being raised.

Tom Hickey said...

Economics is represented as being about efficiency. However, policy is management and management is about effectiveness in achieving goals first and efficiency second. A nation with a large and stuck underclass is a failed state. The US is in many ways a failed state that has a large unproductive underclass and the US supports itself to a signifiant extent on military spending. Virtually the only way out of the underclass is through the military. This is not only the sign of a failed state but a scary one.

John Zelnicker said...

Very scary.

SchittReport said...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ztFCo2QrSUc

Prosperity w/o Austerity - Sweden.

Ryan Harris said...

It is part of our cultural mythology, our history that we suffer through war, drought, financial calamity of all sorts. We buckle down, work harder and grow stronger, wealthier.

Many believe macro structural changes and micro transitions can't happen when the economy is thriving. They even think MMT types might be a little bit lefty socialist. ohh dear.

Plentiful chicken's wings and beer? Who needs money and theories.

y said...

Hilarious post, but depressing too.

Anonymous said...

Forced? I would say it's more like because they are wanting to create another "revenue stream" so they don't have to be careful with their spending. Our local school superintendent just got an increase in salary of over 7%. They keep adding amenities and parks which expands the need for maintenance and insurance (to cover statues and memorials and buildings and playground equipment) Our newly elected mayor felt he had to "give" the people something, so he was working on getting a dog park built. 'Scuse me, but where is it written that they have to "give" the people anything? Retirement benefits for city and county employees keep growing every time they make a new deal with the union people. So they keep finding new "revenue streams." The only way to stop this is to stop expanding. Don't let them pass any more LOST taxes - don't renew them; vote down any new spending. Vote down salary increases (the cost of government is the largest cause of inflation - businesses have to raise costs to keep up with taxes).

Tom Hickey said...

Some truth to that, Anonymous, but that is hardly the whole story. If anyone travels much outside the US they quickly come to realize that the US resembles a factory and the ROW a museum of culture. It all depends on how the people of a liberal democracy choose to live.