Tuesday, October 05, 2010

When Republicans rule, houses burn

Yes, this is what happens when Republicans are in charge -- and it's what America will be like if they and the rest of the anti-government nuts have their way:

The conservative vision was on full display last week in Obion County, Tennessee. In this rural section of Tennessee, Gene Cranick's home caught on fire. As the Cranicks fled their home, their neighbors alerted the county's firefighters, who soon arrived at the scene. Yet when the firefighters arrived, they refused to put out the fire, saying that the family failed to pay the annual subscription fee to the fire department. Because the county's fire services for rural residences is based on household subscription fees, the firefighters, fully equipped to help the Cranicks, stood by and watched as the home burned to the ground.

That's right, this by-subscription-only fire department let the house burn and only did something when the fire spread to a subscription-paying neighbour's house. Think Progress continues:

A local newspaper further pressed Mayor Crocker about the city's policy, which has been in place since 1990. Crocker, a Republican who was elected in 2008 and serves with a county commission where every seat is also filled by a Republican, likened the policy to buying auto insurance. The paper said he told them that, after all, "if an auto owner allowed their vehicle insurance to lapse, they would not expect an insurance company to pay for an unprotected vehicle after it was wrecked."

Yes, but if your car was burning, the fire department would put it out, at least if you live in the sort of civil society most of us prefer to live in, and, what's more, people pay taxes so that government can do what it needs to do to keep people safe and to respond to emergencies (among other things, like providing public education and making sure drinking water is safe and clean). The analogy just doesn't hold up.

And it's a pretty despicable policy. If the police see you being assaulted, do they not step in if you haven't specifically subscribed to their services? Should you not be able to turn on the tap and get clean water if you haven't subscribed to municipal water services? Should the NYPD and NYFD not have responded on 9/11, or should they only have come to the rescue of subscribers?

Please. It's insane. And it's the Republican way.

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  • Yes, let's please foist more moral hazard and free-riding upon the American public. That's worked out spectacularly well for the housing (and soon to be healthcare) market(s). This is a lesson in risk management. Sometimes tail events occur, and there are consequences. I know Dems promise kittens and rainbows and a chicken in every pot, but sometimes economic reality interrupts.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 3:56 PM  

  • Wow, this is irresponsible. A firefighters' job is to put out fires not determine who has paid a fee or not.

    And to Mr Anonymous: When it comes to public safety, economic realities should never be a concern. If it were then clearly our moral universe is completely upside down. Would you for instance approve of the police not pursuing a rapist or someone who has murdered someone simply because the victim didn't pay a fee? If your answer is yes then God help you.

    By Blogger Matt, at 6:59 PM  

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