No dilly-dallying on private-sector side


From April to October the Village of Silver Creek picks up brush twice a month. The last July pickup was scheduled for July 16, according to the schedule that the village publishes each year. As I write this it is now more than three weeks past that date and my brush container remains by the curb filled with well-aged grass clippings. According to that same schedule it is now more than two days past the first scheduled August pickup date of Aug. 6.

I realize that it is summer, a time when the village works on projects that can’t be done in the winter but come on now, it’s been three weeks and I am getting tired of seeing brush turning brown in the heat lining our village streets.

Now I’ve read the OBSERVER story about the refurbished tennis court and new pickle ball courts. These are certainly things that will add to the quality of life in our village but isn’t keeping our streets clear of moldering piles of brush also a quality of life issue?

I’m beginning to think that Silver Creek should do the same with brush pickup that it does with garbage collection. A private company is contracted to pick up garbage and at least 99 percent of the time our garbage and recycling are picked up on time. Why not let private contractors do the same with brush. I’ll bet there are a lot of young and old entrepreneurs out there who might be interested in doing that.

These days we hear all the time that governments at all levels are finding that private enterprise can do many jobs better than government. Recent investigations of the airport security provided by private companies at several airports compared to that provided by the Transportation Safety Agency indicate that private companies have a better record of detecting potential security breaches and can do their job at a lower cost to taxpayers.

Further, the Internal Revenue Service has reinstituted a program of contracting with private debt collection companies to collect certain types of delinquent taxes. A previous attempt at such a program succumbed to a concerted attack by the National Treasury Employees Union with the acquiescence of the Obama administration. However now the Internal Revenue Service, supported by the current administration, has found that private enterprise can do a much more effective job in many aspects of collecting delinquent taxes and do the job at a lower cost to taxpayers.

The reason private business can do many jobs better than government is that risk taking entrepreneurs are in business to make a profit. To do that they work to maximize their efficiency, satisfy their customers and maximize their profits. Profits allow them to buy equipment to do the job even more efficiently, retain good employees by paying them higher wages while increasing their own personal wealth. The profit motive, despite what “democratic socialists” and some Democrats say, is a positive thing that drives our capitalist economy.

Capitalism is far and away the most successful and efficient economic system that has evolved in human society. It success lies in the fact that it does not impose on human society economic theories like socialism or communism from on high.

Rather, in the free market system of capitalism there is a natural force at work, described by Adam Smith, the father of economics, as the “invisible hand,” that self regulates the economy and where individuals seeking their own wellbeing benefit society more than if they tried to benefit society directly. Put another way this means that an entrepreneur provides society with greater benefits by starting a business than by just paying taxes.

To those who would proclaim the virtues of socialism or communism over capitalism I need only point to the current tumultuous situation in Venezuela, a nation on the verge of famine where toilet paper is a luxury item or to the collapse of the late Soviet Union and its satellite states in eastern Europe where Marxist theory collapsed with a thud. Even in Scandinavia, long a bastion of democratic socialism, governments finding that the high taxes necessary to finance social welfare programs have led to sluggish growth and high unemployment are cutting back on those programs in an attempt to foster economic growth.

Finally, I want to conclude this column that began as a plea to pick up unsightly piles of brush on our streets and has become my take on the virtues of capitalism, free enterprise and free markets with these words; please pick up our brush!