Sunday, March 31, 2013

Obama and Titles of Nobility

I'm not at all sure I have my mind round Obama's public-private infrastructure plan just yet, but don't they have it exactly backwards?  I mean--apparently the scheme is to let private investors build the projects and lease them to the government?

Excuse, but shouldn't it be we who lease to them, not they to us?  Howard Hughes didn't get rich by selling drill bits; he leased them,.  Same for IBM with mainframe computers.  And the Duke of Westminster became the only native-born Brit in the list of richest Brits by--well, by picking the right ancestors, but then hanging on.  Every time you feed a parking meter in Central London, you are in effect stuffing the pockets of Gerald Grosvenor and his cosseted kin.  The Constitution provides that there be no titles of nobility in the United States; but if Obama gives you a perpetual parking meter franchise, you might have the next best thing.

Afterthought:  This might be an Illinois way of doing things.  As I recall it was that great statesman Rob Blagojevich who wanted to sell off the Illinois state lottery; fortunately for the lottery, Blagojevich wanted to sell just about everything else, too.

1 comment:

marcel said...

I'm pretty sure that one of the last things Dickie Daley did on his way of the Chicago Mayor's office was to lease the parking meters in the Loop to some big firm:

Similarly, I think the Indiana toll road (aka I80-90) has been leased.

It's a long term solution to a short term problem.