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Sunday, January 08, 2006

Privatise the Sidewalks, Too!

Adam Smith must be doing the “wave”. The New York Times (motto: “Fake, but Accurate”) has an article on a program the Parks Department is running, in which you can sponsor a park bench, a tree, and so on.

The arrangement, long common in institutions as disparate as hospitals, museums and places of worship, provides money for the Parks Department while allowing parkgoers to pay tribute to relatives and friends by "buying" benches for up to $7,500 each for the life of the bench and playgrounds for $15,000 annually.

Wow! A department of the City of New York has embraced the free market! Can a libertarian mayor and the abolition of income taxes be far behind? Not only that, but the Times speaks of this program in approving tones. Of course, the Times stylebook demands that stories point out that money is bad and having money hurts poor people:

But some parks advocates say the Adopt-a-Park program only aggravates what they consider a significant disparity in maintenance between the city's best and worst parks because sponsorships are more likely to be made to parks that are already well maintained. As a result, they say, neglected parks will receive even less attention. Geoffrey Croft, president of the New York City Park Advocates, a private nonprofit group, said, "My question is, when is the government going to begin to adopt its own parks, and start to adequately fund this vital city service?"

So, privatize the parks and I bet the parks would get a lot nicer- although (and here’s where reality bumps right into theory) I have to admit most parks are real nice already. For a free government run service, they’re excellent, where they aren't drug-infested and dangerous.

In other news, the Post Office is raising the price of a first class stamp to 39 cents.

Excuse me while I email my local postmaster to complain.