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View Diary: Gov. Deval Patrick's bold plan to raise revenue and invest in Massachusetts' future (96 comments)

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  •  sorry about the delayed response (1+ / 0-)
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    Sparhawk

    but I've been away from my computer for a while. I appreciate your effort to respond, but your claim that only for-profit businesses "pay" for everything just doesn't hold up and there is no serious economic writer I am aware of who makes this claim. The key point is that money is a measure of value and whatever people do that contributes to the public well-being has value. By your standard, private for-profit schools are the source of monetary value but public schools add only non-monetary value. Public sector workers are not children being paid by Mom and Dad, that's a pretty offensive formulation. Government workers do everything that private sector workers do and visa versa, although you probably wouldn't like to replace the army with private militias or the local fire departments with private for-profit fire companies that let your house burn down if you were behind in your payments.

    Let's take a simple example. Government builds a bridge and then charges tolls for it. A private company builds a bridge and charge tolls for it. In both cases the users pay for the bridge. After a certain period of time, the bridge is paid for. Under completely private ownership the tolls continue and go to provide dividends to stockholders. Under government ownership sometimes the tolls are ended or reduced to the level necessary to maintain the bridge, and the bridge becomes a contribution to everyone else's standard of living, or they might use the tolls to subsidize transit to lower congestion on the freeway and over the bridge, so users can go faster. Government provides water and sewer service, roads, schools, firefighters and police and people pay property taxes to get these services instead of paying for them on a fee for service basis. Garbage is picked up some places by private for-profit companies and sometimes by government. The way I see it, government and the non-profit sector provide the most important things in life -- public safety, education, disease control and hospitals, roads, etc. that allow people to focus on the consumer goods provided by the for-profit sector. Thanks for your attention. Best wishes and may the new year be more peaceful than the last.

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