There’s market failure…and then there’s gov’t failure, as in Flint

January 25th, 2016 at 8:59 am

I focus a lot on market failures, but gov’t failures and just as threatening. See Flint, MI’s water crisis. Moreover, gov’t failure is not a mere accident caused by bumbling bureaucrats. It is a strategy to shrink gov’t. Over at WaPo.

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5 comments in reply to "There’s market failure…and then there’s gov’t failure, as in Flint"

  1. Sandwichman says:

    And then there is government failure that results from eagerness to privatize as the panacea because “markets never fail.”


  2. Robert Salzberg says:

    Government failure is ubiquitous. Flint’s water crisis is the tip of the tip of the iceberg. According to the American Society of Civil Engineers, we need to invest an additional $3.5 trillion to rebuild our infrastructure. Even Bernie Sanders has only proposed $1 trillion in new spending. We need proposals to fix all of it. Like Tax Wall Street to Fix Every Street. A 0.1% tax on financial transactions coupled with an increased and inflation adjusted gas tax would generate all the funds we need to fix our infrastructure.

    The Iowa Caucuses showcase how our country wastes money on ethanol subsidies that support farmers but are a net negative for the environment and damage our cars in the process. America’s government has failed to forcefully address climate change.

    Our government fails to support fully funded public education and health care.

    Our government fails to protect people from police violence and passes laws that encourage vigilante justice.

    Our government fails to protect the basic voting rights of citizens, the reproductive rights of women, the civil rights of minorities, and enforce our labor laws.

    Our tax code is of, by, and for the rich and powerful and gives away $1.2 trillion that could be better targeted with direct, spending programs for a third of the cost with better results. No progressive, that I know of, has put forth a comprehensive tax reform proposal. Here’s one:

    Tax income from investment and wages from work exactly the same. Eliminate all tax exemptions, deductions, credits, and loopholes in the tax code by rewriting them into stand alone spending programs, eliminating the ones that don’t work. Replace tax brackets with a sliding scale tax system that incrementally increases as taxes increase. At the bottom, a negative income tax would replace the EITC. (A Milton Friedman conservative idea!)


    • Robert Salzberg says:

      Whoops! Correction:

      Replace tax brackets with a sliding scale of rates that incrementally increases as income increases.


    • urban legend says:

      Government fails because Democrats fail to pound Republicans into the dust to which they deserve to return. Democrats fail by letting Republicans, with media assistance, turn elections into character and personality contests — think Gore in 2000, Kerry in 2004, now Clinton — and neither showing the public how that is being done and how it ruins government nor raining invective on the reporters, editors and publishers for the supposedly non-partisan media organizations who adopt as their own the Republican playbook.

      Think Alison Lundergan Grimes as the poster child for how to run a weak campaign.


  3. Quinta Scott says:

    Rick Snyder believes that government should be run like a business.

    Rick Snyder doesn’t realize that the role of government is to provide services that the people cannot provide for themselves, like safe clean drinking water. If government wants to turn services over to private companies, then government must regulate those companies to insure that they are indeed providing services like clean drinking water to the people. It is the same with education, trash pickup, policing, etc.


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