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'Privatizing' Public Services Would Help

August 31, 1986

Since I am a long-time Libertarian, and having read many arguments in favor of privatization of public services, Harry Bernstein's column caught my eye. Here, I thought, was my chance to see and try to understand the logic of an opposing view.

What a disappointment! Bernstein gets off to a bad start when he lists Libertarians among the right wing.

The Left vs. Right political scale is too limited, and fails to chart a political ideology that is in favor of both economic freedom (conservatism) and civil liberties (liberalism). I am a Libertarian, and resent being labeled "right wing."

Bernstein gives us two reasons to oppose privatization. First he states, "Private industry can be and often is at least as inefficient as government and just as costly when profits are added to the price charged by the entrepreneur."

He offers no facts to back this up, but because someone is making a profit out of their honest efforts, he seems offended. Would he prefer a business to operate at a loss? Does he believe workers are better off at a money-losing operation than a profitable one?

Secondly, he decries the fact that "We won't be able to sell as much of our own goods and services to a bus driver earning $7 an hour as we could to a driver earning $13 an hour. Reduced purchasing power can hurt the entire economy."

Using that logic, why don't we pay our socialized bus drivers $1,000 an hour, and really boost the economy? Because that $1,000 an hour--or the present $13 an hour--is confiscated from other individuals who are unable to spend it elsewhere.

Reduced purchasing power does hurt the entire economy, and we can blame people like Bernstein for perverting what our government was originally meant to be. Instead of a government that protects the rights of the citizenry, we have a government that has grown so big that even taking a bus causes government intervention.

PAT WRIGHT

San Diego

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