Below is a statement I made to the city council regarding public private partnerships.
"I wanted to talk today about Public/Private partnerships. It seems like most of the council and the Mayor thing Public/Private partnerships are a successful panacea to get things done. Well, I think much of this depends on what we mean by successful, getting things done, and at who's expense when it does get done.
"Public/Private partnerships are nothing new. It might be a relatively new word, but the concept actually goes back centuries. In fact do you know what the technical definition of fascism is? According to Mussolini, fascism, or "the Third Way" was the merging of big business/ with big government. Fascism, in Mussolini's mind, was sort of a compromise between free market, and socialist philosophies. The government still get's to control things, and businesses still get to make money -- as long as the businesses do what the government wants.
"This was not a new concept. 200 years prior this exact same philosophy that Mussolini thought he invented was called Mercantilism. Again, where government, through subsidies, monopoly grants of privilege, licensure, and other sorts of "partnerships" with private actors determined what was and wasn't done. Adam Smith wrote his "Wealth of Nations" explaining why we don't need government picking and choosing what projects we need. The government doesn't need to make decisions about whether we need tennis courts, or businesses downtown, or whatever. Individuals, can make decisions about what they, and society needs, and how to spend their money and manage heir own business and personal lives, better then government.
"What's interesting is that when you read Karl Marx's Communist Manifesto 100 years later. It was supposedly against capitalism, but really every single example Marx cited, was actually an example of Mercantilism. Again: Big business/big government partnership. (See Straw Men and Ham Sandwiches by B K Marcus)
"There's a reason, why both socialists and free market advocates are opposed to public/private partnerships. It's because historically, the only people who get wealth redistributed to them are the politically connected rich, and the only thing the public gets, are the losses.
And we have numerous examples of this in our city. The Pavilion for instance: The private people that helped fund that -- they made some money, but now that it's a sink-hole it's the taxpayers that are paying for the loss. The same thing's going to happen with swimming pools, ice centers, and tennis courts. If they make any money, the private contributors will make some money. But if it generates a loss, they're off the hook. But the taxpayers are expected to hold the tab.
The CORE program is another perfect example of this Mercantile philosophy. Why is the city, deciding that downtown is so important that it's OK to steal from taxpayers and businesses that aren't so politically connected, and giving corporate welfare to businesses downtown. Frankly, I was appalled that people like Erpenbach, and Agular. Liberals who supposedly care about help the little guy, supporting the continuation of the "Socialism for Rich People," Which is what the CORE program really is. This Greenway project is another example. Why are the taxpayers paying to, increase the property values, of big business, at the expense of their livelihood?
Another example of this is the Diversity center. You can also be sure, that if the Diversity center was responsible for raising all of it's own money, it would have much better customer service and vender relations then what we heard here last week. We need to get them off the public dole, if there's any hope of straightening that place out -- and I'll remind you this isn't the first time there's been issues with the diversity center.
Public/private partnerships are basically nothing more then wealth transfers buy the government from the poor to the wealthy. It's time the city council started thinking differently.