The Right Coast

Editor: Thomas A. Smith
University of San Diego
School of Law

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Saturday, January 1, 2011

Why not just abolish the NYC sanitation department?
Tom Smith

This is your government on public sector unions.  If the argument is, some functions are too critical to public safety to put in private hands, then that is an argument against allowing them to be unionized. If unionized, then the state no longer has a monopoly on the power exercised by that arm, which is the whole idea of putting it in the public sphere.  So if you can't have private police forces running around, let's say, then it makes no sense to have the monopolized force of the state colonized or even dominated by a union with interests frequently opposed to those of the public.  

NYC snow removal is just a vivid illustration of a problem that is about to blow up into a genuine fiscal crisis.  Unions have held up states and cities for trillions of dollars in obligations that can't be paid off.  Throw in the costs of an utterly failed public school system in many cities and you get an idea of the scope of folly of government by unions.

Further thoughts here.

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Tom Smith


Nomenklatura as a hostile faction. The Federalist papers are all over this idea.

Posted by: Lou Gots | Jan 1, 2011 3:10:09 PM

Well said, Smithy.

Posted by: dearieme | Jan 1, 2011 5:06:19 PM

And the unions will get away with it which wouldn't be the case if a private company did the same thing.

Posted by: Steve | Jan 2, 2011 5:20:33 PM

Fire them. That's what Bloomberg should do if he wants to run for national office.

Posted by: Jonathan | Jan 2, 2011 9:08:49 PM

Fire them? Some should be prosecuted for manslaughter (and they should lose their pensions).

Posted by: km | Jan 3, 2011 7:43:05 AM

Fire them and offer the jobs to the Iraq and Afghanistan vets coming back who are looking for work.

Posted by: marcus | Jan 5, 2011 4:10:32 AM

I've got a better idea. How about we abolish the Wagner Act &tc?

Posted by: DSmith | Jan 5, 2011 5:15:43 AM

D. Smith is proffering brilliance.

Posted by: b5blue | Jan 5, 2011 5:37:11 AM

I will bet that having a private company handle the garbage collection duties would be far cheaper than the current unionized public sector beast.

Posted by: William Dix | Jan 5, 2011 6:53:21 AM

Guys, I sympathize with the idea of dumping the Sanitation Department in favor of private carting companies, but there's an X factor involved that you may not have thought of. Private collection will probably be just as expensive as civil service garbage collection for the same reason that building a building in New York City is more expensive than building the same building in any other city you care to mention. Who do you think runs the private carting industry in New York? It sure as hell ain't the Boy Scouts.

Posted by: Akaky | Jan 5, 2011 7:01:46 AM