Firefighters in rural Tennessee let a home burn to the ground last week because the homeowner hadn’t paid a $75 fee.
Gene Cranick of Obion County and his family lost all of their possessions in the fire, along with three dogs and a cat.
Cranick says he told the operator he would pay whatever is necessary to have the fire put out.
His offer wasn’t accepted, he said.
The fire fee policy dates back 20 or so years.
“Anybody that’s not inside the city limits of South Fulton, it’s a service we offer. Either they accept it or they don’t,” said South Fulton Mayor David Crocker.
OH. MY. GOD.
So, THESE are the people who make capitalists look like assholes. If I were prone to conspiracy theories, I’d think they did it on purpose just to “prove” that free markets don’t work.
First of all, why is the government running a fire fighting business? I’m all about privatizing fire fighting services, but contrary to Reaganites, the government is not a business. And it should not be a business. Why? because of shit like this. (Never mind how that introduces SO many opportunities for corruption and how government has a monopoly on the initiation of force and businesses work with their customers by the customers volition.)
See, when you’re the government and you work in a bureaucracy, you have a list of rules and you act like a robot and say, “If X then Y. NO EXCEPTIONS! NO SOUP FOR YOU!”
If you’re a business, you say, “How can I make more money in the broadest sense possible?”
If these assholes were business people, they would run up to the guy’s house as fast as they can and say, “We will put this fire out for $100.” The guy might say, “I can’t afford $100! Is there a payment plan? Would you accept $85?” Whatever happens, the end result is that putting out the fire is still an option even if the guy didn’t prepay.
The argument that these petty tyrants make is that if they allow people to pay on the spot, then no one would prepay. That’s why you charge a premium for on-the-spot requests. If you’re a business person, then you know to calculate your on-the-spot premium rate based on what you need to make off of those people in light of the number of other people who prepay. And the fewer people who prepay, the higher the on-the-spot rates need to be. Duh.
And if premium pricing didn’t exist and the firefighters roll up to a burning house and someone says, “I will pay you any price to put this fire out now!” The firefighter who negotiates a decent rate for it would get praised for his initiative.
But noooooo… This is bureaucracy masquerading as a business. And so some people’s house burned down needlessly.
This is just another manifestation of people not knowing the proper role of government. And I just know some asshat like Keith Olbermann will or has already pointed to this to say, “See! Capitalism failed!” This isn’t laissez faire capitalism. This is just another government fail.