Wednesday, November 9, 2011

It Takes Two

The recent LSU vs. Alabama football game was an intense engagement between the two contestants.  No matter how you feel about the outcome (Go Tigers !!!!), it clearly was a classic example of a hard-fought competition. 

My question is: How come conservatives, who are always beating us over the head with their phony demands for competition in the market place, don't even understand the meaning of the word competition?

The Picayune today reports that the Jindal administration was opposed to the $80 million grant (read, gift) from the Feds to provide broadband service to rural schools, libraries, health care facilities, and homes, because they couldn't figure out a way to cut their cronies in on the deal fast enough.  Seems the Feds pulled the moola before the Jindal crime syndicate could paste and glue together enough private/public partnerships to make off with the dough.  Commissioner of administration Paul Rainwater said allowing the state to go forward with using the grant to provide the service on its own, would unfairly "compete with private business."  Of course, the obvious point here is that there is no competition from the private sector for this rural service because they do not deem it sufficiently profitable.

This is the same brain dead and, I thought, long buried idea that conservatives advanced to trash the TVA (Tennessee Valley Authority) and REA (Rural Electrification Authority) during the New Deal.  The utility companies were happy to leave 90% of all rural households in the dark at that time because it was not profitable enough, they said, to provide the service.  They added that the government's involvement would unfairly compete with private business.

They were wrong.  They still are.  Competition requires at least two.  But when it comes to the provision of essential services neglected by the private sector, one will do.

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