ACHTUNG: This is not a “fair and balanced” article. It is an editorial by the editor.
I am opposed in no uncertain terms to privatizing essential services to the public. Which is why I would speak out against any local municipality doing such an awful thing.
We have been hearing on three occasions this year about township boards in Leighton, Dorr and Martin toying with the possibility of pulling out of the Wayland Area Emergency Services (WAEMS) Board, which I believe would be a serious mistake.
It seems that in the past 40-some years it has become fashionable to take public services, paid for by taxpayers, and hand them over to private firms who care only about making money. Too many of these regrettable changes have have resulted in negative consequences.
We are told by private firms that they can perform the same duties more cheaply. The most common reason is that they hire employees at cheaper wages and too often do not offer them health care benefits. Furthermore, the cost savings they trumpet for township boards, school boards, and village and city councils actually are absorbed by the customers. That’s us.
Ever since the U.S. government and many states have switched allegiances to the invisible hand of the free market through a half-baked idea called supply-side economics, we have witnessed the slow and sure disappearance of the middle class and the terrific perks for the wealthy.
In a nutshell, this is how the rich get richer and the poor get poorer. We collectively let it happen and now we have to do whatever we can to put a stop to it.
I sincerely have had a lifelong belief that certain essential services, such as police, fire, education, ambulance and yes, health care, should be funded by all of us chipping to a pot in the way of taxes. That way we often can have a say about what we are buying.
A good example is that the United States remains as perhaps the only industrialized country on this planet that still has a private, for-profit health care system. It is the most expensive in the world. Even the infamous capitalists and lobbyists Koch Brothers funded a study to prove their system is less expensive, but the data effectively proved otherwise.
I fear that local municipalities jumping ship on WAEMS out of frustration will lead to administrative chaos and higher prices.
I sympathize with government units that object to rising costs, but I don’t think they can be avoided and I certainly don’t believe a for-profit could deliver quality for the people at a cheaper cost.
It is my fervent hope that the municipalities and the WAEMS work out whatever problem that has been smoldering for the past couple of years.