Right Thinking From The Left Coast
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Wednesday, October 06, 2010

Pay or Burn

The Left Wing Echosphere is going nutso over this story:

Imagine your home catches fire but the local fire department won’t respond, then watches it burn. That’s exactly what happened to a local family tonight.

A local neighborhood is furious after firefighters watched as an Obion County, Tennessee, home burned to the ground.

The homeowner, Gene Cranick, said he offered to pay whatever it would take for firefighters to put out the flames, but was told it was too late.  They wouldn’t do anything to stop his house from burning.

Each year, Obion County residents must pay $75 if they want fire protection from the city of South Fulton.  But the Cranicks did not pay.
The mayor said if homeowners don’t pay, they’re out of luck.

As I said, the liberals are going nuts, saying this is an illustration of “the conservative vision, believes in the on-your-own society, and informs a policy agenda that primarily serves the well off and privileged sectors of the country.”

My thoughts are a little jumbled on this.  I have no problem with the city doing this, actually.  You should pay or the services you get and $75 a year doesn’t seem like a lot to pay for fire protection.  That’s about what cable charges for a month.  This guy was not poor; he just didn’t want to pay.  And then when his house caught fire, he suddenly found religion.

Frankly, I find the Left’s objections to this to be weird.  They’re saying that fire service should be paid for with taxes, not fees.  But taxes aren’t some magical tree that creates money; they come out of people’s pockets.  In the case of fire departments, the money usually comes out of property taxes.  Why is paying for a fire department with one check different from paying for it with another?  If there is mortgage on the home, it has to be insured against fire.  So why is paying one insurance company OK, but paying another—one with trucks and houses—bad?  It’s because of the Left’s unceasing conviction that everything in our society should be “free” or paid for by “the rich”.

I am especially struck by this story because of the parallels to healthcare reform.  The fear of insurance companies—and one that experience in Massachusetts has justified—is that people will do with their health what this man did with his home: wait until their need is dire and then suddenly want protection.  Only, in that case, the non-compliance will be larger and the ultimate expense greater.  Imagine if everyone in this town had followed this man’s example.  The fire department wouldn’t exist and everyone’s house would burn down.

Now I don’t think they should have let his house burn down.  There should be some provision to put it out and then fine the shit out of him.  But that’s not the commentary I’m seeing on this.  What I’m seeing is ranting and raving about how firefighting should be free and conservatives, apparently, want a world where only “the rich” (now defined as those with $75) get fire protection.

That’s just bullshit.

Update: Much much more from the Best Magazine on the Planet. One thing that was not clear to me on initial posting was that this was an “opt in” service from another nearby municipality. They literally do not have a local fire department. So this wasn’t capitalism run amuck, denying an essential government service. This was a nearby city offering, for a fee, a service to people who do not pay taxes there.  This makes the leftist shrieking about how this is the future of America even dumber.

Posted by Hal_10000 on 10/06/10 at 08:53 AM in Politics   Law, & Economics  • (0) TrackbacksPermalink
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