Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Madison: Gated City?

Madison: Gated City?

Madison Mayor Mary Hawkins Butler’s recent strategy to keep outsiders from attending a city festival is consistent with the city’s history of enforcing strict neighborhood covenants and zoning regulations that restrict rental properties in the city. Madison has long promoted itself as more of a club than a city, but last week, after Hawkins Butler cited Franklin, Tenn., as a model city for a residents-only festival, Franklin officials said they had never heard of such a practice.

Hawkins Butler told the Madison County Herald Sept. 18 that the city was cancelling this year’s annual family fall festival, FreedomFest, because of unexpected budget expenditures and the high number of non-Madison residents who attended the event in the past.

Another example of what the perfessor would say illustrates how municipalities are adopting restrictive, HOA-like behaviors.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Privatization as a plutocratic plot: They Want To Privatize Everything | California Progress Report

They Want To Privatize Everything | California Progress Report

One of the most important trends afoot right now is the move to privatize as many government services as possible. Billionaires like Bill Gates, along with hedge funds, are pushing an agenda of privatizing public schools, and funding a PR push in support of that cause with films like "Waiting for Superman" and the NBC "Education Nation" that included a panel with the title "Does Education Need a Katrina?".

This trend is fueled by the desire of the richest Americans to seek new income streams. Instead of spending their cash hoard on innovating new products or businesses that can create jobs and lasting economic activity, they're engaged in a process of rent seeking, which has no productive value. By taking tax dollars that currently provide public services and channeling them to the private sector, which contracts to provide the service at lower cost - and therefore at lower quality - these wealthy individuals can add new income streams while also blunting any effort to raise their taxes to provide these services.