While a lot of the national focus has turned to the health care squabble, a minor distraction to these eyes, the ongoing scandal of government-sponsored interference with free market enterprise continues to disturb. We speak of course of municipal fire departments and a pernicious reliance on government bureaucrats to shoulder responsibilities that could readily be privatized which they engender.

Why do we allow the civil service to pick and choose which fires to put out? Do Americans really want some nameless government bureaucrat to handle this important responsibility?


In a previous time, rational consumers had their choice of arriving fire brigades when their homes or businesses enjoyed a demand spike in, well, fire. Competition was so fierce many brigades even turned to fisticuffs to select a winning bid, often finishing their negotiations before the home was a smoldering ruin. Returning public-optioned fire departments to private industry would generate job growth, reinvigorate this moribund industry, and, because of competition, lead to technological enhancement and improved worker productivity.

It's hard to imagine private industry tolerating the current state of affairs. Since the government takeover fires appear willy-nilly, a haphazardness no corporate manager would tolerate but which these government employees seem to accept readily. As it stands now, no one knows when a fire will consume their homes, dislodge their lives, perhaps even lead to financial ruin.

Allowing fire brigades to compete will restore order to the U.S. fire industry. Consumers could have the freedom to make personally responsible decisions about which fire brigade's plan served them best. Should they seek catastrophic fire coverage or just enough to pay for an out-of-control backyard barbeque? It's their fire and their choice!

It's deplorable that this state of affairs continues. Here's hoping the fire department debate heats up soon or else another generation of Americans will be forced to endure complete and unquestioned single-payer fire security each night they put head to pillow.

Kevin Clarke

Comments are automatically closed two weeks after an article's initial publication. See our comments policy for more.
11 years ago
Fire insurance in cities used to be handled by fire insurance companies whose firefighters only protected insured property.  Society got rid of that privatized system for obvious reasons.  Private interests cannot always protect the public interest, also called the common good.
11 years ago
Please,, I want to post before any other Con.
I HATE THE GOVERNMENT and all it's employees.. except Marines army navy CG .. and fbi cia, state dept, border patrol, VA, indian affairs, social security, medicare, treasury , justice dept, agriculture, forest service, US court system, national park sevice,sec, fed reserve,I  most like US mint..and the controller of the currency
I guess like most Cons, I just don't like anyone elected who i didn't vote for i.e.  Pres. Obama and congresspeople.. I am a real American.. born here too.. white too, moderately well off too [4 mill net worth] .. cashed out of stocks 08-08 haha ha back in 03-16-09 hahahahah
11 years ago
11 years ago
Your "modest proposal" is well taken.  As Catholics, we should ask which health care model would best serve the public AND uphold our notion of subsidiarity.  How much of a role of the federal government do we need?  Could such invovlement actually be damaging to our democracy? 
In your example of the fire dept, you did not mention that the federal government does not run municipal fire departments - they are (properly) under municipal control where the people most affected can exercise the best governance.   Likewise, public schools are under control of a local school board where the parents can better dictate what is taught.  Medicaid is currently run by the states.
Don't get me wrong, I do think the federal goverenment does have a role in ensuring that all Americans have decent helath care.  However, I don't think this monster of a bill does it in the right way.  I hope they re-write it, provide clear goals and expectations (without any abortion funding!), and delegate the execution of it to the states.
11 years ago
Martin, remember that subsidiarity must be pared with solidarity (so says Benedict XVI in Caritas in Veritate).  To subsidize some employers through a break on their corporate or individual income taxes while leaving others uninsured is a violation of solidarity.  As long as there is a federal tax subsidy it is a federal issue.  As long as seniors receive benefits under Medicaid and the poor and elderly under Medicaid, it is a federal issue.  Because many state governments don't have the fiscal power to handle covering the uninsured in our midst (Tennessee dropped Tenncare, although Mass. has a good plan), it is a federal issue.  While Medicaid is run by the states, it gets a lot of federal money - and should get more.
11 years ago
The analogy is perfect.  The responses are excellent also.  The employer really has no business "offering" health coverage.  Health coverage should be an individual matter so that unemployment does not create the kind of mess it currently does for the unemployed.  Hardly anyone can afford the premiums that they have to pay in order to continue with the plan their former employer offers, and the law being what it it, it virtually declares that by failing to pay these exorbitant premiums, one is agreeing that one will not expect coverage for preexisting conditions with one's next insurer when that is not, in fact, the case.


The latest from america

The judges are Amy Coney Barrett, a federal appellate court judge in Chicago, and Barbara Lagoa, a federal appeals court judge in Atlanta.
Why are there so many Catholics on the nation’s highest court?
Allyson EscobarSeptember 21, 2020
Ginsburg died at her home in Washington of complications from metastatic pancreatic cancer.
This production of ‘Godspell’ is striving to be the benchmark for a possible future for theater.
Lindsay ChessareSeptember 18, 2020