November 2010

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07 October 2010


Andy Gillette

Pretty split on the polls--as of today the "I inwardly cringe" folks are slightly ahead of the "No, it's just not right" crew.

To each his own....


If I were the fire department, I would have given them the option of paying right there.

However, I wouldn't have just asked for the $75 as the house was burning because it creates the incentive for people to pay their fees only when their houses are burning down.

Instead, I would have had them pay $400-500 (or whatever a realistic and substantial premium should be). That way there is a "punishment" for not paying the fee but it's not catastrophic. It would be a good business choice for the fire department--both from the financial side and, more importantly, the PR side.


This is not a failure of the free-market, but again (unsurprisingly), a failure of gov't. The family blames the authorities, not the fire dept. The mayor made the rule that fire fighters could not put out fires for people who didn't pay up front. The fire dept. was more than willing to allow an exception, but the mayor refused to allow it.

Furthermore, even if it was a failure of the free-market, at least the citizens of the town (and the family) would have the ability to correct it by choosing another fire dept. When the gov't-run company fails, there is no other alternative.

Finally, this whole debate ignores why towns choose to use private depts over state run depts. They consistently arrive earlier to fires than their gov't run counterparts-saving lives, money, and property.

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