Good Work If Ya Can Get It

Wanna know why California is going down the toilet?  And perhaps, why the rest of us are soon to follow?  Because unlike the real world, California rewards organizations that fail.

To be fair, this isn’t just California but all government.  When a program or division isn’t performing well, the government leaders that were elected to fix things often don’t have the stomach to make the hard decisions and axe that division or program.

I mean, take private enterprise for example.  Can you imagine how many corporations, when faced with very tough budget troubles, allowed their employees to vote for their solution?  Chaos would ensue.  Government is no different.

Just check out exhibit A:

From Sonoma to San Jose, the Bay Area’s 28 mass transit systems are bleeding money and riders at a rate that will require a projected bailout of about $1 billion a year for the next 25 years, according to a new report by the Metropolitan Transportation Commission.

So, that’s the problem.  And what are politicians doing about it?  The same things all politicians do about it.  They cut their products, raise prices which only leads to further damage:

Ballooning costs, coupled with a shrinking ridership and vanishing tax revenue, have led to a vicious circle of fare hikes and service cuts that chase away even more patrons – and lead to more deficits.

Now, to be fair, government doesn’t only under perform at the ability to cut programs that are failing.  They also know how to mismanage those programs to begin with:

For example, from 1997 to 2008, the total cost of running the Bay Area’s bus, train and ferry systems climbed 52 percent over inflation.

During the same period, however, the number of commuter lines and hours of service increased just 16 percent. Ridership rose a mere 7 percent.

Typical government.  Faced with the fact that they can’t cut the programs they were elected to run, they drive up costs and reduce demand.  A vicious cycle of ineptitude.  Don’t believe me?  Check out where the increased costs were found over the last several years:

The biggest chunk of the cost increases, according to the report, consists of raises and benefits for management and the rank and file, many of whom are now among the best-paid transit workers in the country. In fact, the cost increases were so dramatic, it’s questionable whether the systems could have covered their costs even if the economy had held.

The Bay area would be better served if they outsourced the transit system to a private firm AND paid them $.5 Billion a year; they’d save that extra $.5 billion for other failing projects of their choice.

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