15 October 2010

Firefighting for the select few

I have noted before that capitalism is largely based on greed and that Libertarianism is fundamentally selfish.

Here is more fuel for my fire.

Libertarians (and I realize that this is a simplification of the ideology) generally want to privatize most, if not all, government services. But when emergency services are fee based...this happens:

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....

...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.

When the Cranick family called 911, they offered to pay the subscription to save their house. Once it was clear that the Cranick's hadn't paid, initially the Fire Department wasn't willing to come.

You would think that the Fire Department would assist anyone, right? The Cranick family thought so, too.

"I thought they'd come out and put it out, even if you hadn't paid your $75, but I was wrong," said Gene Cranick.

Cranick was wrong.

But they finally arrived.

It was only when a neighbor's field caught fire, a neighbor who had paid the county fire service fee, that the department responded.

As ThinkProgress notes the county commission’s latest report calls subscription based firefighting services “very progressive.”

Seriously. They refused to save a family's house because they hadn't paid a $75 dollar fee that year.

In Colorado, however, totally privatized Fire Departments are working. For people who pay.

Some homes threatened by a wildfire in the Colorado foothills west of Boulder were protected by a private team of firefighters hired by an insurance company to look out for its clients' property.

Currently, there are restrictions on what they can and cannot do...

They aren't allowed to fight fires if the homes ignite, and they're required to get permission from firefighting commanders.

Three homes insured by Chubb were destroyed and at least 10 others in the fire zone were spared, the newspaper reported.

You might think that this would be a nice backup plan in case of danger. But you probably don't qualify.

The values of the homes with Chubb insurance in the Fourmile fire ranged from $300,000 up to several million dollars, Schussel said.

Chubb spokesman Mark Schussel had noted that the policies are "definitely not cheap."

The problem with privatization is that the rich people, like Chubb's clients, get the primary service and the one's who cannot afford the fees get the privilege of watching their houses burn to the ground.

Reposted from The Modern Left

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