Sunday, January 9, 2011

Quotation for the day: Gregory Bresiger

Today most riders don't think of the subways as "a great public work," but rather as an overpriced antique. Descend into a New York City subway station and youll see how economy and progress have been outlawed in order to protect union jobs. Buy a token or a stored value card from a clerk. Youve basically used the same method of buying a fare that was used 60 years ago.

There are many cost saving proposals that could be explored if the system was run on a for-profit basis. But since the system is run on a political basis and since unions still retain great political power in New York City, any save-the-taxpayers-money, business-approach is not an option.

Privatization of public services is an option in other places. But not in New York City. Every politician of consequence is afraid to do it. Just raising the issue could lead to a strike by the municipal unions, which always implies the threat of violence.
Gregory Bresiger, "Sell the Subways," The Free Market, Vol. 16, no. 9 (August 1998), Ludwig von Mises Institute; read the full article here.

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