Wednesday, May 27, 2009

govts always threaten to cut vital serivces first

A basic application of "Public Choice" economics: Because people don't pay much attention to a broad array of political issues (it's rarely rational to do so), you can accomplish your policy goals by exaggerating and downplaying costs and benefits as appropriate.

Here's an example from Columbus, OH: a story by Robert Vitale in the Columbus Dispatch (hat tip: Craig Ladwig)...

Columbus police will be pulled from highways, high schools and other duties if voters reject a proposed city income-tax increase on Aug. 4, Chief Walter Distelzweig said yesterday.

Nearly 300 officers would lose their jobs in layoffs. When added to the number of retirees who wouldn't be replaced, Columbus would have 324 fewer police than it has today.

"This is devastating for our division," the first-year chief said. "You've heard the old adage, 'doing more with less?' We're going to do less with less."

I love how government often starts by threatening to cut their most vital functions first. (That said, in this case, most of what city govt does is police and fire.)

And notice that the police chief threatens to cut jobs with no mention of reducing compensation. (Has that been discussed elsewhere?)


At May 27, 2009 at 1:39 PM , Blogger PianoMom said...

Very interesting.
I never thought of it like that.

I think Mayor Abramson closed Otter Creek Park and cut public library hours last year to stay on budget, also did some furloughing. It would make more sense for this city govt to start there also, instead of scaring people into paying more taxes.

At May 29, 2009 at 1:21 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

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