Tea Party and NAACP Help Defeat Privatization Bill in Florida

Earlier this year, Florida’s Republican Governor and legislature proposed to privatize all 26 state prisons.  SB 2038 would have allowed privatization if a private company’s bid was at least 7 percent less than the state’s current cost. The bill would affect nearly 4,000 state workers.  Projected annual savings exceeded $16.5 million. Despite union opposition, the bill … Read More

Profiles in Political Courage

A few weeks ago Congressman Barney Frank (D-MA who is retiring from the House this year, gave a memorable interview to New York magazine in which he criticized President Obama for aggressively pushing health care reform.  Frank says he warned Obama the Democratic Party would pay “a terrible price.” Apparently Frank was not alone in counseling … Read More

In Montana the streams belong to the people. So far.

Montana, home to some of the world’s best fly fishing, is also home to the country’s most far reaching law protecting their stream and river commons. The catalyst was a 1984 ruling by the Montana Supreme Court that any river or stream capable of being used for recreation purposes such as fishing and floating, can be … Read More

Michigan Republicans Deny Petition to Restore Democracy Because Font is Too Small

It’s hard to make this stuff up.  Last year the Michigan legislature passed a bill that gave the Governor the right to seize control of a city and insert a manager that had the authority to fire all workers, abrogate all contracts and privatize all public asset, all without the advice or consent of elected officials. … Read More

US Post Office Best Deal in the World

The US Post Office needs money.  As this chart shows, US postal rates, at 45 cents for a first class stamp, are the lowest in the world, often by far, excluding a few small island countries.  Yet Congress, the Postal Regulatory Commission, set up by Congress in 2006 to oversee the Post Office, has proven unwilling … Read More

A Devastating Critique of the World Bank’s Love Affair With Water Privatization

In the 19th century, small private companies in U.S. and European cities supplied water only to those who could pay a premium. Then came epidemics of cholera and other waterborne illnesses, which vividly illustrated the widespread stakes for public health and human life and invigorated the political will needed to make a shared commitment to universal … Read More

Book Burning Hoax Results in Huge Support for Michigan Public Library

Sometimes it takes a truly imaginative hoax to jolt us into realizing how much we value the public. That’s what happened in Troy, Michigan last summer. Nationwide, over 90 percent of public library money comes from local property tax dollars.  Thus every time a public library needs money it has to go to the voters.  In … Read More

Wisconsin To Stop Doing Cost-Benefit Studies Because They Find Public Is Better

Back in 2005,  Wisconsin state agencies were found to be spending more contracting out for services than if they were done by existing public employees.  In response the legislature, with bipartisan support, passed a bill requiring agencies to conduct a cost-benefit analysis before privatizing large public contracts. By far the biggest state government outsourcer was and … Read More

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